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Title: A comparison of experiences and uses of living rooms in Guildford and Oyama
Author: Kimura, Michiharu
ISNI:       0000 0001 3599 578X
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 1986
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A living room is defined in terms of place theory (Canter, 1977a): a relationship between actions, conceptions, and physical attributes of the setting. A new term "anti-living room" is created to highlight the importance of a subject's decision in the use of the living room. A "multiple use" of the living room, which is an antithesis of place theory, is tested against the empirical data collected between two different cultures. The paradigms of Tao are introduced to highlight the cultural differences in the pattern of use of living rooms. The English living room is hypothesised to be predominantly yang (B) (rational), whereas the Japanese living room being predominantly yin (B) (intuitive). Attempts are made to relate the I Ching to facet theory, both dealing with the complexity of "real life" issues. In order to understand the "entire phenomenon" of a living room, and to accommodate the "multidimensional nature" of experiences in a living room, facet theory and its associated multidimensional scaling procedures (SSA-1, MSA-1 and POSA) have been applied in this study. A facet theory postulates a priori definitions (mapping sentences) of the pattern of use of living rooms. MDS procedures try to reveal the underlying structures of the data. Thus it is possible to compare findings within similar living rooms and between different living rooms of different cultures when a facet approach is taken. A cross-cultural study is presented of patterns of behaviour, furniture possessed and attitudes towards living rooms in 115 homes in Guildford (England) and a comparable social sample of 145 households in Oyama (Japan), reveals that the Japanese engage in a wider range of activities in the Japanese living room (yin action - synthesis). In the English living room the English are likely to specialize its use, namely, relaxing and entertaining (yang action - analysis). In the field of man's relationship with his living room, the type of approach which might be termed intuitive speculation seems to be lost in a world devoted to the supposedly more scientific approach of objective analysis. As Alan Watts (1970) has speculated, this emphasis on the so-called objective may indeed be a handicap for Western man, for it enables him to retain his belief in the separateness of the ego from all that surrounds it. Although certain objective facts have been presented in this thesis, it is hoped by the author that its overall message is clear: allow yourself to be open to the consideration of relationships other than those that can be proved or disproved by scientific method, for it may well be in these that a deeper truth lies. Chapter 1 defines a living room in English and Japanese houses and briefly outlines the structure and aims of the thesis. Chapter 2 introduces the concept of space in the East and the West and discusses the living room in a cross-cultural context. Chapter 3 reviews the existing research on living rooms. Chapter 4 describes the research instruments and the selection of samples and introduces facet theory and its associated multivariate statistics. Chapter 5 analyses the structure of the pattern of living room activities. Chapter 6 analyses the structure of the use of living room furniture. Chapter 7 analyses the structure of satisfaction with living rooms. Chapter 8 develops a typology of families and relates it to living room activities. Chapter 9 develops a typology of physical properties of living rooms and relates it to living room activities. Chapter 10 discusses the implications of the research.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Psychology of living space use