DOSSIER CASA: Introduction

Maria Assunção Gato 

Dossier Ethnographies of the house, values and manners of inhabit


in pdf:  


Over the past decades relevant ethnographic work have emerged about the house and its material culture reveiling, on one hand, the complexity of relationships established among home as a physical and architectural structure, residents, objects and values, and on the other showing that both domestic space and manners of inhabit embody important changes that are taking place in contemporary societies. Considering theusefulness in promoting an interdisciplinary discussion around the house and dwelling, it was decided to launch an open call for papers on this subject on the 12th SIEF1 conference held in Zagreb in 2015. A selection of articles resulting from that call is now presented in this thematic dossier.

Anita Aigner’s text, “Living in a monument – a matter of taste and class. A case study” opens the dossier. Focusing on an architectural perspective in dialogue with the field of symbolic production and social representations, this text describes different profiles of appropriation and valorization of modernist housing estates in Vienna. In parallel with issues concerning directly with the modernist architectural heritage that must be preserved, there are others related to the legitimacy of culture and aesthetic taste of residents that, in this case study, are inextricably linked to their social selectivity and ways of living.

The second text, “Casas-cueva en Galera (Granada): una nueva vida para una vivienda tradicional”, authored by José M. Mejías del Rio, brings us an original example of traditional housing architecture, which results from a synthesis between the cleverness of local people and the needs of the residents themselves. Meanwhile, the revitalization process that these cave-houses are subjected to nowadays implies not only reuses and new residents, but also new aesthetic and architectural features.

Romina Magdalena Colombo, in “The wave of a modern magic wand: genealogies of domestic décor processes in Nevo Estilo Magazine (1977-1986)”, leads us in a journey through the evolution of domestic décor practices and discourses in Spain, based on the analysis of ahome décor magazine’s archives. Beyond the decorative process, the author sought to portray the praxis of certain domestic imaginaries and the transformations of the house as a cultural object.

In the fourth text, “Dialectics of the household: technological objects as a social mediator”, Constança Vieira de Andradeexplores the importance that certain household objects take as mediators, whether in living the home, whether in the familiar social relations. Alongside with the discussion around the material culture arise elements referring to social identity and differentiation processes through objects.

Lastly, “Students living abroad: the art of home sharing”, co-authored by Filipa Ramalhete e Maria Assunção Gato, is focused in a residential practice increasingly common among university students who choose to study abroad. The ins and outs of home sharing are contextualized in a broader process of individualization and empowerment of these students, whose implications in terms of sociability and lifestyles can either be immediate as though mirrored in their future ways of living.

1.            Société Internationale d'Ethnologie et de Folklore


special thanks to Emanuel Meroni for the house´s sketch (intro)