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Title: Everyday life in older people's residential homes from a material culture perspective
Author: Lovatt, Melanie
ISNI:       0000 0004 5992 6289
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis explores how older people in residential accommodation experience home and everyday life through their interactions with material culture. Taking an ethnographic approach, it looks in detail at how residents’ feelings about living in and being at home are revealed through their practices with the things that surround them. It also shows how residents’ attitudes towards home are shaped by new and ongoing social relationships, as reflected in and constituted through the gifting and circulation of objects. By focusing on the everyday, this thesis emphasises hitherto neglected aspects of residential home culture. Where previous research on residents and their possessions has concentrated on ‘cherished’ or ‘treasured’ belongings, for instance, this study widens the scope to all things, however mundane. In doing so, it argues that homes are continually shaped by materially-mediated social practices, and that ‘becoming at home’ is an ongoing process, where meanings are made through the interactions between residents and objects. Conceptualising home and the nature of the relationship between people and things in this way diverges from studies which suggest that possessions can ‘transfer’ a sense of home or identity when residents move into older people’s homes, essentially rendering them passive repositories of meaning ascribed to them by residents. While residents’ feelings of home are shaped by institutional features such as the built environment and care culture, those able to exert agency do not just rely on existing belongings to recreate a sense of home, but also turn the spaces of their rooms into places of home through interacting with objects in the present and making plans to buy new things. This thesis therefore argues that becoming at home in residential homes for older people need not be so different from becoming at home in other situations and stages of the life course.
Supervisor: Warren, Lorna ; Davies, Katherine Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available