Life02
"Listening to houses". Tracking politics, poetics and practices of being at home in the contemporary world

Convenors:
Giacomo Pozzi (Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca)
Paolo Grassi (Polytechnic of Milan)
Stream:
Everyday Life
Location:
Aula 28
Start time:
15 April, 2019 at 9:00
Session slots:
2

Short abstract:

We state that the politics, poetics, ideas, and practices of dwelling represent a privileged standpoint for uncovering how contemporary transformations are materialized, embodied and felt in everyday life.

Long abstract:

Carsten recently argued that anthropology should be more engaged in "listening" to homes, not considering them just as objects, but as "interconnections between individual trajectories, kinship and the state" (Carsten 2018: 103). Taking into account Carsten's call, we state that politics, poetics and practices of dwelling represent a privileged standpoint for uncovering how contemporary transformations are materialized, embodied and felt in everyday life. Anthropology has interpreted houses, on one side, as complex results of societal dynamics. On the other side, houses have been seen as active loci that promote changes in society. Without falling into determinism, we want to explore how societal transformations influence perceptions, praxes and ideas of house and, dialectically, how certain perceptions, praxes and ideas of house can retroact on those same dimensions. These dialectical dimensions invite to consider houses as part of a wider process, that we could defined as "being at home". Many factors promote the theoretical necessity of interpreting different "being(s) at home": transnational migrations, social media, economic crises, wild urbanization, touristification, represent some of the phenomena that are changing the experience of dwelling. In this panel, we are interested in tracking social changes - in a global perspective - from the peculiar point of view of houses. We are interested in papers that ethnographically explore the relationship between houses and everyday practices, between the broader "built environments" and their social contexts. In particular, we are interested in dwelling experiences that show how people deal with changes, in the forms of precarity, risk, and vulnerability.