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Home, Home Ownership and the Search for Ontological Security

The Sociological Review

Author: Dupuis, Ann, Thorns, David C.
Year: 1998
Type: Journal Article


The central focus of this paper is the notion that the home can provide a locale in which people can work at attaining a sense of ontological security in a world that at times is experienced as threatening and uncontrollable. The paper builds on and develops the ideas of Giddens and Saunders on ontological security and seeks to break down and operationalise the concept and explore it through a set of empirical data drawn from interviews with a group of older New Zealand home owners. The extent to which home and home life meets the conditions for the maintenance of ontological security is assessed through an exploration of home as the site of constancy in the social and material environment; home as a spatial context in which the day to day routines of human existence are performed; home as a site free from the surveillance that is part of the contemporary world which allows for a sense of control that is missing in other locales; and home as a secure base around which identities are constructed. The paper also argues that meanings of home are context specific and thus the data need to be seen in relation to New Zealanders’ long standing pre-occupation with land and home ownership. The paper concludes by speculating on how meanings of home may be changing.

Further Details

Full Title The Sociological Review
Pages 24-47
Volume 46
Issue 1
Publisher Blackwell Publishers Ltd
ISBN/ISSN 1467-954X
Electronic Resource Number 10.1111/1467-954x.00088

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