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People, Places and Possessions


Edited By Antony Buxton, Linda Hulin and Jane Anderson

Central to human life and experience, habitation forms a context for enquiry within many disciplines. This collection brings together perspectives on human habitation in the fields of anthropology, archaeology, social history, material culture, literature, art and design, and architecture. Significant shared themes are the physical and social structuring of space, practice and agency, consumption and gender, and permanence and impermanence. Topics range from archaeological artefacts to architectural concepts, from Romano-British consumption to the 1950s Playboy apartment, from historical elite habitation to present-day homelessness, from dwelling «on the move» to the crisis of household dissolution, and from interior design to installation art. Not only is this volume a rich resource of varied aspects and contexts of habitation, it also provides compelling examples of the potential for interdisciplinary conversations around significant shared themes.


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Part I: Conceptualising Habitation


Part I Conceptualising Habitation Linda Hulin 1 InHabiting Space: Archaeologists, Objects and Architecture ABSTRACT This paper seeks to outline the tension between the idea of home and its material expression. The argument moves from the ways in which archaeologists have shifted from narrative descriptions of the home to the household as an economic unit and shows how this has reflected changing interests in the discipline as a whole. The discussion then turns to archi- tecture’s view of buildings as agents of social transformation and the expression of domestic life, and in particular the way in which the contents of houses act in that process. This brings the argument back to the way in which archaeology can approach objects within houses and how they work with the space in which they are placed to support feelings of home. House and home Sir Edward Coke, writing in The Institutes of the Laws of England in 1628, declared ‘an Englishman’s house is his castle’. A house is not necessarily a home, however; rather, it is the material stage upon which private life – itself a highly variable concept – is set. A home, on the other hand, is immaterial, a spatial imaginary anchored to the material world not just through prac- tice, but by emotion (Blunt and Dowling 2006; Marcus 2006; Rybczynski 1986). A home can invoke both belonging and alienation; it is an idea against which individual happiness is measured and individual identity is constructed (Bourdieu 1979; Duncan 1981; Pearson and Richards 1994; Rapoport...

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