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International Perspectives on Culture, Identity, and Belonging

Edited By Margarethe Kusenbach and Krista E. Paulsen

This book presents fourteen original contributions by authors examining the importance of dwellings and local communities in people’s everyday lives. Through qualitative research conducted in North America and Europe, the volume explores the ways in which home is created both ideally and practically, at levels ranging from individual housing units to neighborhoods and public spaces. Even when the circumstances of making one’s home deviate from cultural ideals – for instance, in crowded, institutional, or stigmatized housing contexts, in disadvantaged or transient neighborhoods, or when one has no permanent dwelling at all – the authors illuminate how experiences and practices of home are central to what it means to be human.


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Home: An Introduction Margarethe Kusenbach Krista E. Paulsen


  1             Home:   An Introduction      Margarethe Kusenbach    Krista E. Paulsen        The  overall  goal  of  this  edited  volume  is  to  foster  an  exchange  of  knowledge and  ideas between social  scientists, both novice and experi‑ enced, who are examining issues of home within different scholarly and  national contexts. The book has already built bridges among its contrib‑ utors, yet our primary aim is that it will help readers who approach this  topic  from different  corners,  literally  and  figuratively,  to  enhance  their  own  thinking  and  research  agendas. We hope  that  the volume offers  a  range  of  interesting  theoretical, methodological,  and  empirical  insights  toward this purpose.   The  volume’s  contributors  are  a  rather  diverse  group,  geograph‑ ically and otherwise: they currently live in the United States, Canada, the  United  Kingdom,  The  Netherlands,  Sweden,  and  Germany;  and  they  include both junior and senior scholars. Research sites and areas include  Utrecht, Rotterdam, London and surroundings, Berlin, Hamburg, Kaluga  (near Moscow), Vancouver, Chicago,  Las Vegas,  the  larger  Jacksonville  and  Tampa  areas  in  Florida,  as well  as  Southern  and Central  Sweden,  Southern California, and the US Midwest.   The volume brings  together a series of original chapters based on  recently conducted research regarding issues of home within a particular  scholarly niche: qualitative studies done primarily by sociologists—with  an honorary political  scientist,  anthropologist, gerontologist,  and visual  artist mixed in. While we agree with Mallett (2004) that the topic of home  is ultimately best approached from an interdisciplinary perspective, this  focus was  selected  for  the mundane  reasons  that we  are most  familiar...

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