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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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Part Three: Community and Belonging

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  195          Part Three: Community and Belonging          The  scholars  included  in  this  final  section  take  up  similar  questions  to  those  featured  in  the  first  two,  such  as  how  where  one  lives  impacts  individuals’  sense  of  self,  the  importance  of  feeling  in  control  of  one’s  daily environment, and how a sense of home is socially and interaction‑ ally  constructed.  However,  the  following  chapters  broaden  the  focus  from  individuals  and  their  dwellings  to  neighborhoods  and  communi‑ ties. They examine feelings of home and belonging in places as diverse as  US mobile home parks, gentrifying neighborhoods in Germany and The  Netherlands, and UK urban quarters and suburbs.  Margarethe Kusenbach’s “Place Feelings and Life Stories in Florida  Mobile Home Communities” conveys how residents of one of  the most  stigmatized  housing  types  in  the  US  make  sense  of  their  homes  and  communities.  The  chapter  draws  primarily  upon  interviews  with  over  100 households  in mobile home communities  in  the Tampa Bay area of  Florida. Kusenbach notes that the residents are keenly aware of the mar‑ ginal  reputation  of  their  homes  and  communities,  and  that  this  stigma  demands of residents explicit attention to the places they call home. She  finds  that  individuals’ place  feelings,  i.e.  the  emotional  connections with  the places in which they live, vary widely from one person and place to  another, yet they also appear to be related to larger community level fac‑ tors. In addition, individuals’ personal framings of their biographies—life  stories  in  Kusenbach’s  terms—provide  insight  into  how  people  experi‑ ence home...

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