P212
Creating nostalgia? Discussing traditionalism in home environments

Convenors:
Sophie Elpers (Meertens Institute, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences)
Peter Jan Margry (University of Amsterdam/Meertens Institute, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences)
Location:
Tower B, Piso 3, Room T12
Session slots:
2

Short abstract:

The use of traditionalism as ethnic- or culture-specific style for new designs in everyday life is often perceived as a way of evoking nostalgia. This panel discusses why and how people prefer to live by designing and re-creating their home environment in a traditionalistic manner.

Long abstract:

The panel explores why and how people, in the present and the past, prefer to live by designing and re-creating their home environment in a traditionalistic manner. Why do they apply culture- or ethnic-specific styles for designing homes, house building and arranging countrysides? Creating new but vernacular or traditionalistic live atmospheres, often still insufficiently described as a mere reaction to supermodernity, globalization and the subjectivation of society, can be found at all societal levels, at home and in neighbourhoods, villages, cities, suburban areas and landscapes. In its visual representation, the phenomenon has been depicted as regionalism when deployed in an interpretative way and it is labelled neo-traditionalism, as a copy-prone and superficial contemporary architectural trend. The panel does not primarily deal with the design of (neo-)traditionalism or the architectural perspective, but focuses on ethnological questions. The emergence of traditionalism has been related to a great variety of causes, such as feelings of alienation, uncertainty and insecurities, a need for safety, demands of regional and local identities, and perceptions of a romanticized, nostalgic safe past. What are the functions and meanings of traditionalism in home environments? How is traditionalism perceived, appropriated, instrumentalised or altered by the different actors? And, also, how does the interaction between residents, policymakers, authorities (and their laws), and architects and designers work? Is it - and if so, how - related to general processes, for example of identity politics or globalization?