How Does Homeownership And The Renovation Restoration Process Create Place Identity?

How Does Homeownership And The Renovation Restoration Process Create Place Identity?

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Material culture is a method that is essential to answering my research question, how did homeownership and the renovation/restoration process create place identity? I define material culture as the material representation of the culture (Culture, 2007; Schlereth, 1982; Glassie, 1999). The definition I use for place identity is how the house is a reflection of a resident’s ideologies (Droseltis & Vignoles, 2010). These two ideas come together in the field of material culture studies. Materials culture studies embody the work of scholars and researchers that examine human behavior through the lens of objects using a variety of approaches. Taking five pieces of scholarship I identify a source each researcher used, and how they used material culture. Finally, I will discuss how each of these studies are similar and different from each other.
The first piece of scholarship is by Barbara Lane’s Book (2015), Houses for A New World, delves into postwar housing. In her section on buyers, Lane (2015) is able to explore how the house and design preferences reflected experiences from The Great Depression and WWII (Lane, 2015). Parallel to how Lane links the house and past political and social events through oral history I foresee using oral history in a similar manner. It is important to understand what past experiences and events influence design decisions and the values and ideologies held.
Charles Martin’s (1984) book, Hollybush, is a study that examines how residents constructed houses in the Appalachian Community in the hills of Tennessee. Martin used the physical home remains and images to examine home construction in understanding the social relationships in a community. The changes in construction and craftsmanship signify changes in...


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...houses faced shared spaces with cul-de-sacs. This design choice of house orientation created an environment where residents could view others and engage with each other due to the shared spaces (Andrzejewski, 2009). The maps were an avenue to showcase a culture and the social relationships that existed with the residents.
These five pieces of scholarship showcased how objects can represent social ideology and culture. The approaches to reveal the cultural statement that the house, neighborhood or community showcased are varied, but are all part of the tools used in material cultural studies. The key to each piece of scholarship is how the researcher used the sources to examine human behavior and relationships through objects. Each researcher used the house as a symbol to explore the influences of political events, economic events, social relationships, and ideology.

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