Negotiating the Everyday: Practices and Stories of Shared Domesticity
Luisa Lo Duca
(University of Pise)
Paper short abstract:
Co-housing means to spend most of domestic life negotiating space, time and rules with people who are not your relatives. How do these special domestic communities emerge and grow up, and in what do they diverge from traditional ones? An ethnographic insight into practices and stories of sharing in.
Paper long abstract:
Co-housing is more and more widespread among students and young precarious workers as a response to the uncertain socio-economic situation which, after the 2009's crisis, affected especially southern Europe. Living with other people who are not members of your family is a way to share a rent, but it has also some very deep interpersonal implications. In fact, co-housing means organizing and dividing duties and tasks; cooking and cleaning up together; negotiating domestic spaces and time.
Aesthetic and ethical collaboration (and co-definition) makes these houses a peculiar social laboratory in which is possible to observe an immersive and real microcosm featuring similar problems and characteristics as a large-scale multicultural society. Objects, rules and their incessant relocation define the peculiar 'structure of feeling' of its inhabitants in a both personal and collective way.
How are these special communities formed? How do their inhabitants decide and organize the most personal space (The House) in a collective and social way? How does this organization affect their personal way of living and 'feeling' domesticity?
In this paper I reflect on some examples and themes of my ethnographic fieldwork about co-housing in an Italian city, focusing on practices and stories of participation and sharing.
Styles of domestic life: austerity and self-worth