Accepted Paper:

"Old habits die hard": relations between sensual perception and the feeling of home  
Matthias Klückmann

Paper short abstract:

This paper sets out to explore an understanding of (sensual) perception and emotional experiences as shaped by "everyday life" experiences. The 'feeling of home' then depends on the possibility of experiencing the social and material world in a familiar way and/or of dealing with dissonance.

Paper long abstract:

If we ask how sensory perception creates experiences of "home", we need to take into consideration that perception itself evolves through processes of learning and habituation. Based on conclusions drawn from my master thesis, this paper focuses on two questions: How do experiences shape our perception and how does this effect whether we feel comfortable within space or not. Discussing psychological approaches on perception (i.e. cognitive schema and cognitive dissonance), a 'more' cultural understanding of sensory perception will be suggested, within which "everyday life" functions as a training of people's "personal dexterities without reflecting much on" (Ulf Hannerz), i.e. a trained (in)capacity to see, smell, taste, feel things in a certain way. To 'feel at home' then is an attempt to stick to the way one has learned to perceive ones everyday social and material world.

The argument will be exemplified by fieldwork in Stuttgart (Germany). Through perception walks, the (sensory) perception of first, second and third generation migrants of different descent as well as of Germans was surveyed. It can be concluded that they conceptualize "home" and perceive their environment differently according to the way they experienced it as habitual: The Migrants' as well as the Germans' 'feeling of home' depends on their capability to deal with unfamiliar or irritating perceptions.

Panel P324
Home: landscape, imagination and practices of everyday life