A view through a window: Social relations, material objects and locality

Abstract

In this article the authors ask what it would mean to think sociologically about the window as a specific material and symbolic object. Drawing on qualitative analysis of a series of comparative interviews with residents in three different streets in a diverse local area of Glasgow, they explore what the use and experience of windows tells us about their respondents’ very different relationships to the places where they live. On the one hand, the window, as a material feature of the home, helps us grasp the lived reality of class inequality and how such inequality shapes people’s day-to-day experience. On the other hand, windows are symbolically charged objects, existing at the border of the domestic and public world. For this reason, they feature in important ways in local debates over the appearance, ownership and conservation of the built environment. The article explores these struggles, and shows what they reveal about the construction of belonging in the neighbourhood, a process which is both classed and racialised at one and the same time.

Date: 
Friday, July 28, 2017
Authors: 
Shirin Hirsch
Andrew Smith
Publication Type: 
Journal article
Journal: 
The Sociological Review
Publisher: 
Sage Journals
DOI: 
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0038026117724068

Research Strand: