The Surprising Power of Space

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This paper deals with the affect of interior spaces on homelife, individual identity, communal solidarity and cultural sustainability. Research devoted to the study of homelife generally fails to investigate the spatial/structural properties of housing and their effect on the individuals living within. Consequently, here is no generally accepted framework for explaining why and how the exterior configuration and interior spaces of the home are arranged in certain ways and what they mean to the people who inhabit them. Ethnomethodology is used to examine the way people make sense of their world as expressed through the spatial configuration of their living quarters and the role these spatial configurations play in the sustainability of culture. The work of Neil Leach, Pierre Bourdieu (and others) provide the supporting literature. Leach posits that domestic architecture consists of a language of forms given meaning through cultural discourse. Bourdieu describes cultural domestic architecture as the result of a non-conscious system of dispositions deriving from an individual’s economic, cultural and symbolic capital or habitus. An example will follow illustrating the outcome of permanent forced relocation on the Nubian people and the surprising impact of unfamiliar architectural configuration on the personal identity and communal solidarity of this cultural group.


Keywords: Cultural Sustainability, Architectural Configuration
Stream: Cultural Sustainability
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Dr. Georgianna Short

Associate Professor, College of the Arts, The Ohio State University
Dublin, Ohio, USA

Dr. Short is interested in maintaining/sustaining tangible and intangible heritage of minority cultures. Historical events endangering, even destroying cultural heritage of disenfranchised groups serve as a lens through which to view sustainability of cultural capitol in contemporary times.

Ref: S08P0212