Inhabitation as a process:
Theoretical frameworks for analysing interiors
Keywords:Inhabitation, Domestic spaces, Spatial design
The process of ‘inhabitation’, the process of appropriating interior, domestic spaces by individuals, is a complex phenomenon that has been studied in different disciplines and relies upon different theoretical frameworks. These frameworks often remain implicit, whereas they nevertheless have a profound impact as to how the economy of the interior is conceptualised. This paper sets out to map three of these frameworks. We discuss phenomenology, critical theory and Actor-Network-Theory (ANT). Phenomenology holds that the home is a place deeply needed by all individuals in order to be able to really reach their potential. Critical Theory rather seeks to unravel the hidden meanings of domestic interiors as tied up with the logics of capitalist economy, patriarchy and hetero-normativity. ANT studies home interiors as complex entanglements of objects and people that can only be fully understood when taking these interrelations into account. The paper argues that the choice of a particular framework should correlate with the research questions one is asking and with the motivations that drive particular research projects.
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