Accepted paper:

A house that smells like home

Authors:

Sigrún Hanna Þorgrímsdóttir (University of Iceland)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores narratives of moving house in contemporary Iceland. It focuses on ideas about homely atmosphere and the experience of home in the making. The process of moving house is examined and in particular the importance of smell in the re-making of a home in a new place.

Paper long abstract:

This paper explores narratives of moving house in contemporary Iceland. It focuses on home experience and the smellscape of home. The homemaking process requires involvement of numerous entangled actors, human and non-human. This process is not always noticeable but becomes especially apparent when moving house. At that point everything becomes upended and the dweller needs to recreate a homely atmosphere in an unfamiliar space. The senses and emotions are very important in this respect and smells become rather tangible and persistent during this transition. Scent is a crucial factor in the creation of home in a new place. The lingering smell of others results in a feeling of uncanniness, the scent of former habitants must go and "our signature smell" needs to become part of the intimate space. The smell is part of the dwellers identity and a means to make the new place more familiar. Particular scents are considered important aspects of interior design, they are produced and sold as commodities and they are said to make the home personal, welcoming and cosy. The smellscape of home draws forth the encounter of the personal home, cultural ideals and standardisation. It is not always enough to unpack and put everything in place, light a scented candle and you are one step closer to a warm and loving home.

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Habitat in the making: between expert mediations and the poetics of daily life