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Title: Thinking building dwelling : examining earthships in Taos and Fife
Author: Harkness, Rachel Joy
ISNI:       0000 0004 2682 6484
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2009
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Based upon multi-locale research with people building environmentally-friendly off-grid homes called Earthships, this ethnography explores the nature of such activity.  It critically considers this architecture in terms of building, concentrating on the processes by which the builders are able to dwell.  Drawing upon fieldwork in a radically empirical manner it furthers anthropological discussions of human-environment relations, exchange and technology, creativity, and the local and the global.  The theorisation weaves a phenomenological analysis of dwelling around a neo-Marxist critique of work and consumerism in Earthship communities in Scotland and New Mexico and in wider Western society.  Earthships, it is argued, present an attempt to revitalize the architecture of the West and to avoid the alienation so often exacerbated by it.  The thesis suggests that builders attempt to do this by engaging in practical-critical activity, fuelled by a belief in the value of being able to do it yourself and by a philosophy which places people within a dynamic world of interdependent elements.  Earthship dwelling, it is suggested, is a spatially- and temporally-aware social project which both generates and requires monism or an engagement of the whole person.  Earthship building is a radical, connective art, carried out by people brought together by their critique of wider society and a belief in their ability to forge a better future.  As the builders make manifest their designs, this thesis notes that a low-tech and underproductive approach is chosen as well as there being prominent use of natural systems as models.  Earthships present an experimental and open-ended way of dwelling within the limits of a shared world.  Acknowledging these limits, builders strive to reuse materials and exploit only renewable energies.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Ecological houses ; Human ecology ; Sustainable buildings ; Environmental protection