International Perspectives on Culture, Identity, and Belonging
Part Two: Making Homes
109 Part Two: Making Homes Continuing several aspects of home raised in Borchard’s contribution, the four chapters in this section illustrate the importance of having a home—and a particular kind of home—for articulating one’s sense of self. Although the authors cover diverse geographical areas and housing types, they all demonstrate people’s investment in finding or making a home that is decent, comfortable, and expressive of the householders’ identities. As all the authors reveal, this commitment persists even when the dwellings available are far from matching cultural ideals of home. In “Fragments of Home in Youth Care Institutions,” David Wäster‑ fors examines how youth make themselves at “home” in an institutional setting. The chapter draws upon ethnographic research in Swedish institutions housing young men with psychosocial disorders, records of criminal behavior, or similar problems. The youth are not here by choice, and their behavior is fairly tightly controlled. As Wästerfors asserts, home in this context is made or unmade through a series of accomplish‑ ments, utilizing both material goods and social practices. Wästerfors focuses on the youths’ ability to personalize space, and thus cultivate identity; and on the accomplishments of both privacy and integrity. For instance, crafting an identity by personalizing one’s dormitory room might mean putting up pictures of loved ones, or it might mean neatly organizing one’s closet (thus contrasting with a “disorderly” identity that was created through interactions with staff). When privacy cannot be obtained through conventional means such as closing a door,...
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