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Title: Imagined futures of the everyday : middle class households in south-east London
Author: Miller, Mary
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2016
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Discussions of hope and the imagined future have thus far focussed on grand ambitions at the expense of the more mundane, modest wants that are the preoccupation of everyday life. Studies of the home have demonstrated the role of material culture in embodying memory and household pasts but little has been said of household futures and their impact on household presents. This ethnographic study of the lives of three middle class households in south-east London addresses these gaps through an exploration of the role of imagined futures in orienting everyday life in the household. The ways in which householders work to make household life what they want it to be, and to secure the longer-term futures they imagine for their children, are explored through the frustrations, disappointments and anxieties that stem from the frequent failures of these efforts. Objects are demonstrated to be both the means through which householders attempt to make household life what they want it to be - their potentiality shaping and enabling imagined futures - and the means through which these imagined futures are reconfigured or derailed. The period of maternity leave, that all three of my women participants were in the midst of, is shown to be one in which the work of bringing the household's imagined futures, and children's imagined futures to fruition falls disproportionately to mothers, often at the expense of their own wants. Finally, a broader lens is used to explore how middle class householders' efforts to live the life they want contributes to and shapes the processes of gentrification credited with bringing dramatic change to south-east London.
Supervisor: Daniels, Inge Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Ethnology ; Social Anthropology ; Household ; London ; Ethnography ; Material Culture ; Middle class ; Home