Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/24841
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Social Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Becoming at home in residential care for older people: a material culture perspective
Author(s): Lovatt, Melanie
Contact Email: melanie.lovatt1@stir.ac.uk
Keywords: ageing
residential/nursing home care
social theory
qualitative methods generally
Issue Date: Feb-2018
Citation: Lovatt M (2018) Becoming at home in residential care for older people: a material culture perspective, Sociology of Health and Illness, 40 (2), pp. 366-378.
Abstract: Residential homes encourage new residents to bring belongings with them, so that they can personalise their room and ‘feel at home’. Existing literature on material culture in residential homes views objects as symbols and repositories of home and identity, which can facilitate a sense of belonging in residents through their display in residents' rooms. I suggest that this both misunderstands the processual and fluid nature of home and identity, and conceptualises objects as essentially passive. This article uses ethnographic data and theories of practice and relationality to argue that rather than the meaning of home being inherent in objects, or felt subjectively by residents, meaning is generated through ongoing, everyday interactions between the two. I show that residents became at home by acquiring new things –as well as displaying existing possessions – and also through interacting with mundane objects in everyday social and relational practices such as cleaning and hosting. I conclude that being at home in older people's residential homes need not be so different from being at home at other stages of the life course and in other settings. This challenges conceptualisations of older people's homes – and older age itself – as somehow unknowable and unfamiliar.
DOI Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-9566.12568
Rights: This item has been embargoed for a period. During the embargo please use the Request a Copy feature at the foot of the Repository record to request a copy directly from the author. You can only request a copy if you wish to use this work for your own research or private study. This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Lovatt, M. (2018), Becoming at home in residential care for older people: a material culture perspective. Sociology of Health & Illness, 40: 366-378, which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9566.12568. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.

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