Accepted paper:

Historic mass-produced housing and the contemporary consumer: Bata's blue-collar houses in Zlín


Barbora Vacková (Masaryk University)
Lucie Galcanova (Masaryk University, Faculty of Social Studies)

Paper short abstract:

The paper is based on a qualitative research on standardized blue-collar dwellings (realized in Zlín, Czech Republic during years 2007-2009). Our aim is to discuss the role which plays the specific materiality of mass-produced housing in the effort of contemporary dwellers to "build their home".

Paper long abstract:

The research took place in the standardized mass-produced houses built during years 1924-1939 in the functionalist city of Zlín by the Bata's shoemaking concern. The presupposed lifetime of houses was thirty years thus the houses were designed as a temporary minimum dwelling. But due to the historical circumstances these houses are still used and their contemporary dwellers are obliged to negotiate the using and the renewal of the houses not only with their housemates but also with materiality of the house itself. The paper discusses the ways in which this seventy years old mass-produced materiality - standardized minimum houses - affects the needs and lifestyles of contemporary occupants. The paper will present the quarter-houses and semidetached houses on three levels. (1) As a part of broader urban and social project of industrial city: In the materiality of the houses the image and structure of bourgeois ideal of nuclear family was embedded so it was used as a disciplining model for workers from countryside to be "civilized" and trained in specific housekeeping practices. (2) The houses might be seen as the witnesses of the social change that our society went through during 20th century and thus they enable us to describe and understand these changes. (3) However, the main focus of our research was to understand how the specific technology and construction materials of the houses affect the everyday practises of their contemporary inhabitants and how are these relations interpreted and reflected in the narratives.

panel P118
Objects, domestic routines and the making of everyday life