Styles of domestic life: austerity and self-worth

Joao Pina-Cabral (University of Kent)
Consuelo Araos (P. Catholic University of Chile)
Start time:
15 August, 2018 at 9:00
Session slots:

Short abstract:

How do styles of domestic living interact with self-worth in our austerity driven contemporary society? The panel explores how domestic life can constitute a window to the study of modes of personal constitution by relation to different levels of sociality.

Long abstract:

The panel explores the notion of styles in relation to the ways domestic life is shaped by matters of taste and affect at different levels of sociality and by relation to locality. Raymond Williams called these styles 'structures of feeling': the lived experience of the quality of life at a particular time and place. These identifiable styles of enacting the relationship between presence and world respond to expectations concerning personal self-worth at different levels of habitus constitution: gender, generation, dwelling, neighbourhood, class, socioeducational status, etc. We seek to explore the 'structure of feeling' of the relation between 'dignity' and 'feasibility' within contemporary consumer society, thus encompassing aesthetic, ethical and practical aspects of people's shaping of their dwelling environments, both in staying and in moving. We focus on the way domesticity is structured by relation to the principal symbolic vectors of participation: kinship (the logic of blood and bones), consubstantiality (the logic of cooking and sustenance), and built features of the environment (the logic of dwelling). In proposing this workshop, we aim to relate our discussions to the more general process of how neo-liberal 'austerity' policies have challenged personal self-worth within a society structured through media-directed patterns of consumption: how are styles of domestic living being differentiated and how are people managing their sense of challenged presence? Can that help us question analytically our ethnographic material concerning domesticity as an aspect of both personal and collective constitution?