Transformations of Home in Anglophone Literature and Film since the 1990s
Home is an auratic term which conjures up a
host of associations such as warmth or safety. At the same time, it is
notoriously tricky to define because meanings of home are dependent upon social
and cultural contexts and individual experientiality. Moreover, home is a multidimensional
term in so far as it may refer to a physical structure, e.g. house, a social
unit, a place of origins, affective ties or the “site of everyday lived
experience” (Avtar Brah). It can also be situated on various scales ranging
from the domestic to the global.
It is important to stress that ‘home’ is not a neutral place or a mere descriptive term. Instead, notions of home are implicated in ideologies and discursive power relations. Home is a site where subjectivities are forged, practiced and negotiated. In the project, we therefore see ‘doing home’ as a ‘technology of self’ (Foucault).
Literature and film arguably play an active role in establishing, disseminating and questioning cultural ideas and ideals of home. In that sense, home is not only a concrete place but partakes of what Winfried Fluck calls the ‘cultural imaginary’. In our project, we are interested in two interconnected aspects of literature and film: first, how home is represented and, secondly, how media practices like reading literature function as specific technologies of self. While a central focus of our analysis lies on Britain and Ireland, we also include other Anglophone regions like Australia and Canada.