Dovey(1985, p.33) defines home as “an emotionally based and meaningful relationshipbetween dwellers and their dwelling places”. However, Rodeschini et al. (2011) suggestthat home is a contested concept and the meanings of home are continuallyattributed by people who live in it. The meanings of home also draw upon theepistemological and theoretical choices that we use to analyse this concept.
Thisannotated bibliography will explore the different meanings of home from theviews of different authors by firstly looking at home as an order, identity anda nest. After that, home as a space with or without privacy will be focused on.Then, home as a patriarchal and reproductive space will be examined from the feministperspective. Moreover, the meaning of home for gay men and lesbians will beexplored by looking at the non-normative homes. Lastly, home as a site ofresistance for black people will be discussed.Dovey suggestshome is the centre of our spatial world, warmth and security.
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He also viewshome as a territory with symbolic and physical boundaries that gives dwellerscontrol and privacy within home. These concepts are further explained withregards to home as order and home as identity by Dovey. In addition, he arguesthat the home environment is shaped by the experiences of the past and thefamiliarity, and home can be emotional because it takes its identity from thepeople who live in it. Similarly, Rodeschini et al. agree with Dovey’s ideas ofhome and claim that “the concept of privacy, safety/security, and identity aregenerally recognized as central in the construction of the ‘meaning of home'(p.
226). They also consider the physical boundary between the public andprivate as a border that makes home as a nest where melancholy prevails.However, for a certain group of people, the concept of homebeing a private space can be eroded. Mortenson et al.
(2016) point out that forthe people who have long-term health issues and require in-home care services,their privacy at home will be compromised because it is expected that dwelleris able to live autonomously and behave casually at homeDovey’sconcept of home is overwhelmingly positive, however, this is challenged by Bowlbyet al.’s (1997) interpretation of home. Bowlby et al.
view home as a place thatcreates, reproduces and maintains patriarchal relations instead of a paradisewithout the pressure of paid employment and public life. The patriarchalrelations are reproduced through the process of ‘doing home’ and performingcaring tasks by women. For instance, as an act that contains the essence offemininity such as “care” and “love”, cooking is mostly carried out by women athome (Bowlby et al.). Moreover, Domosh (1998) argues that the conventionalnotion of home being a place of reproduction only need to be also reconsidered.She suggests that some economic activities such as sewing and quilting arecarrying out by many women in their home, and the ‘masculinist’ concept of homeas a private reproductive space should be challenged. Although the meanings ofhome have been widely addressed by the feminist approach, Bowlby et al. pointout that the notion of home should be also considered through the perspectiveof same-sex household and so can the duality of gender be challenged.
Valentineet al. (2003) explored the meanings of home for gay and lesbian young peopleafter coming out and suggest that the home could be either a place in whichthey face violence and insults or a place where self-confidence and self-esteemcan build up within, depending on the reactions of their parents. Valentine etal. summarise it as “Families can both hurt and heal” (p. 496). In addition,Valentine et al. argue that young gay men and lesbians often choose to concealtheir sexuality when living in the family home because home is considered as aplace of heteronormative socialisation, which agrees with the conceptualisationof home above provided by Bowlby et al.
. However, Gorman-Murray (2007) arguesinstead of a place of concealment, home can be used by gay man and lesbians toreinforce their sexual identities, relationships and communities.home’, AustralianGeographer, 38(2), pp. 195-213.From Bowlbyet al.’s perspective, home is regarded as a place where women were oppressed andexploited, so the outcome of it is always negative. However, as a black woman, hooks(1990) has a completely different thinking of the meanings of home and the roleof women within home.
She argues that by making homes, black women areconstructing a space where black people could feel safe, where they can affirmtheir black identity and where they can restore their lost dignity in a publicracist world.Thecomparative review of texts produced by Valentine (2001) and Blunt and Dowling(2006) provide a comprehensive summary of the concept of meanings of home.Blunt and Dowling also explain how the meanings of home have been explored byMarxists and Humanists.
In conclusion, the meaning of home is a contestedconcept and it is constantly attributed by the personal experiences of thedwellers, which could intersect with sex, age and race. It could be eitherpositive or negative, depending on the epistemological and theoretical choicesthat we use to analyse it. It is important to understand the sophisticated meaningsof home when carrying out empirical research on current housing crisis and researchon urban planning. Unpacking the meanings of home is also useful tounderstanding people’s everyday life.