Accepted paper:

Aspirational tensions: Young couples and homemaking in a tightly regulated ecology


Crystal Abidin (Jönköping University)

Paper short abstract:

Home-ownership in Singapore is a cumbersome bureaucratic process. The long waiting time often sees young couples negotiating aspirations, expectancies, and delayed gratification. This paper articulates recent first-time homeowners' journeys, their tensions, and early homemaking practices.

Paper long abstract:

Owning a house is an exciting milestone for young couples. In Singapore, heavily-subsidised public housing is a viable albeit tightly regulated option for first-time homeowners administered by the Housing Development Board (HDB). Young couples often embark on bureaucratic navigations that can take up to four years. As a result, marriage, childbirth, and homemaking is closely tied to the transience of their interstitial housing arrangements. Naturally, 'the big move' that eventuates has become a ritualised spectacle in which young couples can finally enact their homemaking aspirations. Based on personal interviews with recent first-time homeowners in their mid-20s, this paper outlines young couples' trajectories of home ownership in Singapore, their narratives of prolonged expectancies and delayed gratification, and their first makings of a shared domestic space.

panel Dwe03
Material moralities of homes and housing