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The Role of Housing in the Experience of Dwelling

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Home Environments

Part of the book series: Human Behavior and Environment ((HUBE,volume 8))

Abstract

Units of housing are commodities produced and marketed within particular economic and technological constraints. For most North Americans, they are something we search for rather than produce. Home is a more elusive notion. Not only is it a place, but it has psychological resonance and social meaning. It is part of the experience of dwelling—something we do, a way of weaving up a life in particular geographic spaces. We may center our experience of dwelling in our own home, in our neighborhood, in a network of places connected by airplane routes, or in an image of our place in the world, to name but a few alternatives. The word dwelling is not often used in social science except to refer to dwelling units (or d.u.s., the discrete measure of housing) or to the dwellings of premodern societies, for example Hopi dwellings or the cliff dwellings of the Southwest. The notion of dwelling highlights the contrast between house and home. First it does not assume that the physical housing unit defines the experience of home. It connotes a more active and mobile relationship of individuals to the physical, social, and psychological spaces around them. It points to a spiritual and symbolic connection between the self and the physical world that was overtly recognized in premodern dwellings and may now seem uselessly poetic or fanciful. It emphasizes the necessity for continuing active making of a place for ourselves in time and space. Simultaneously, it points to the way in which our personal and social identities are shaped through the process of dwelling.

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Saegert, S. (1985). The Role of Housing in the Experience of Dwelling. In: Altman, I., Werner, C.M. (eds) Home Environments. Human Behavior and Environment, vol 8. Springer, Boston, MA. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4899-2266-3_12

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4899-2266-3_12

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Boston, MA

  • Print ISBN: 978-1-4899-2268-7

  • Online ISBN: 978-1-4899-2266-3

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