Accepted paper:

Comfort in times of change


Kerstin Gunnemark (University of Gothenburg)

Paper short abstract:

Expectations and experiences of comfort in private houses have changed during the 20th century. The aim is to discuss different generations of inhabitants’ homemaking and local identifications in an old villa district, with focus on various aspects of material and social comfort over time.

Paper long abstract:

Private houses and villas in old fashion styles have been more attractive on the house market during the latest decades in Sweden. But why do many people appreciate to buy old houses instead of new build ones? What kind of expectations do they have about homemaking, comfort and discomfort in houses which were built 100 years ago? The aim is to discuss homemaking and local identifications in a villa district in Gothenburg. Special attention will be given to different generations of inhabitants and how the image of the suburb has changed over time as consequences of local circumstances and new dwelling trends. It is notable that four generations have been living in this neighborhood; workers who build the houses; re-newers with functionalist ideals; creative class with low expectations of comfort; re- renovators with creative homemaking ambitions. Each generation has made efforts for realization of their dreams of good living standard; material comfort in their homes and social comfort in the area. Other citizens' imaginations of the area have changed over time. The district has not always been attractive. In a biographical perspective of the district it is obvious that the changes are similar to other working class areas where gentrification trends are visible. One main question is why young families nowadays prefer to settle down in old neighbourhoods. Are their interests related to imaginations of cultural heritage of their houses? Or is it mostly a question of making comfortable homes and expressions of their decoration skills.

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Dis)comforts of home: historical and cultural perspectives