International Perspectives on Culture, Identity, and Belonging
Edited By Margarethe Kusenbach and Krista E. Paulsen
Part One: Ideas of Home
23 Part One: Ideas of Home The chapters in this section examine how home takes on its substantial meaning and power. Through examinations of how homes are lost, found, bought, and sold, the scholars included here detail a breadth of cultural messages associated with home, as well as the stakes of these messages for individuals and households. Krista E. Paulsen’s chapter “Modeling Home: Ideals of Residential Life in Builders’ Show Houses,” takes up the questions of how particular dwellings become associated with specific households, families, and sta‑ tuses. The work draws upon observations of model homes created as part of broader marketing efforts for Northeast Florida communities built during the height of the recent US housing boom (2002‑2007). In trying to sell new homes, builders and their marketing staffs seek to show what life might be like for those who will live in these as yet largely un‑built or unoccupied developments. As Paulsen finds, the mes‑ sages they convey about future residents are “not neutral”: in trying to reach likely buyers, builders and “model home merchandisers” reinforce taken‑for‑granted cultural notions of just what kind of people will be “at home” in what kind of dwelling. Through careful choices in home furnishings and décor, they communicate that single‑family homes are exclusively for families with children, and that attached dwellings are for households without children—among other normative, or even discrimi‑ natory, messages. The chapter points to the power of marketing tech‑ niques to amplify cultural...
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