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Making home : working-class perceptions of space, time and material culture in family life, 1900-1955

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posted on 15.12.2014, 10:44 by Lucy. Faire
The thesis aims to provide a comprehensive study of working-class home life in the first half of the century. It examines the autonomy of working-class domestic culture by questioning assumptions of emulation and 'trickle down' and assesses the class experience of home. It also shows the diversity of domestic experience within the working class as determined by age, gender status, life cycle, occupation and geographical location. The subjective nature of home life is stressed throughout the thesis. Its main source, over 100 autobiographies, enables working-class people to describe their own experiences. This source shows how people actively participated in the construction of their own domestic environment as well as how they were subjected to it.;Home life is examined through four main concepts: space; time; material culture; and family. The first concept examines the extent, uses and meaning of space to the families in the autobiographies. The second analyses the objects they had in their homes, how they acquired them and which ones they considered were special either to themselves or to members of their family. The third examines domestic rhythms and the allocation of tasks in the home, and the fourth family relationships. The emphasis is on continuities within the period as much as change, and on male as well as female experiences of home. Throughout, the division between the so-called public and private spheres is questioned and the thesis concludes by arguing that these terms are particularly inappropriate for working-class home life in the period 1900-1955.


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Economic and Social History

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

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