Accepted Paper:

The moral home: aesthetics of the everyday in the context of receiving home modifications  
Karin Johansson (Karolinska Institutet)

Paper short abstract:

The paper examines how older persons define aesthetic qualities of modification installed in their homes through moral judgements of the actions and circumstances materialised in the home modification, as experienced through their senses.

Paper long abstract:

In spite of the ambition to support everyday activities in the home for persons with functional limitations, home modification interventions are often experienced as intruding, rather than supporting everyday activities at home by the users. Drawing on empirical research on older persons receiving home modification in Sweden, this paper suggests that a shift in focus from activity performance to an aesthetic quality of the everyday can contribute to provision of home modifications that better manage to support everyday activities at home for this group. Based on a theoretical framework combining theories of the aesthetics of the everyday, anthropology of the senses and anthropology of morals, this paper examines how older home modification receivers define the aesthetic quality of the modification through moral judgements of the actions and circumstances materialised in the home modification, as experienced through their senses. The findings indicate that modifications perceived to result from actions -own and others - and circumstances that were in accordance with values associated with being part of the construction of the Swedish welfare state during the first half of the 20th century were experienced as supporting everyday activities and 'sense of home'. A conclusions that can be made from this paper is that better understandings of how experiences of aesthetic qualities in the everyday use of the home are generated and expressed contributes knowledge about how sensory experiences take on meaning within larger cultural and political contexts.

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