Housing and Social Change: East-West Perspectives

By Ray Forrest; James Lee | Go to book overview

7

The making of home in a global world

Aotearoa/New Zealand as an exemplar

Harvey Perkins and David Thorns


Introduction

Recent debates about the future shape of urban life have been dominated by questions of 'globalisation'. Social scientists have asked whether the world is becoming increasingly homogenized and dominated by common patterns of urban life. They have also examined the degree to which local differences are maintained in this process. A useful approach to study these global-local interactions is to interpret the ways they play themselves out in local settings. One such setting is the 'home'. This chapter therefore identifies some of the key theoretical ideas about house and home in a more 'global' world and discusses what can be learnt from a grounded, qualitative study of the meaning of home currently underway in Aotearoa/New Zealand.

Aotearoa/New Zealand, and its closest neighbour Australia, are migrant post-colonial European settler societies in which particular ideas about the home and building form have had a continuing influence upon the design and use of space. Davison, the Australian social historian, recently observed that:

Home was thus both an idea and a place, an object of affection located far away, in the homeland from which most colonials had come, and near at hand, in the houses which they had built in the new country. These new homes were shaped by pressures of both emulation and avoidance: a desire, on the one hand, to reproduce loved and familiar styles and patterns of life; and, on the other, to escape the crowding and poverty of houses which were no longer home-like.

(Davison 2000:6)

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