AccueilThe Post-War European Home
Publié le mardi 03 décembre 2002 par Natalie Petiteau
David Crowley (Royal College of Art, London) and Paul Betts (Sussex University) are planning a symposium on the theme of The Post-War European Home. This one-day event, hosted by the AHRB Centre for the Study of the Domestic Interior, will be held at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London on Monday 12th May 2003.
The home, a place suffused with associations of privacy and intimacy, has long been a public place. Social reformers, politicians and cultural commentators have regularly turned homes into ideological symbols and 'evidence' of social progress. Homes were subject to a remarkable degree of public attention and discussion following the conclusion of the Second World War. Long a recalcitrant site under pressure to modernise, the domicile acquired new social and political significance in the aftermath of mass death and destruction. It was to be a healing agent in the regeneration of societies damaged by war and the experience of fascism. In West Europe the home was to stave off the dangers accompanying the rise of authoritarian regimes in the 1920s and 1930s, much of which was built on a new hallowed division of public and private. In Eastern Europe, homes were to play a decisive role in the construction of socialism to speed the advent of communism, all the while helping better bind citizen and state.
As a consequence, the condition of homelessness played an important role in the representational order of post-war Europe. The close connection between Heim and Heimat could hardly be ignored by the millions of people displaced by war, or for that matter those people who came to occupy the former homes of those killed or exiled. Even if the experience of homelessness was often eclipsed by the urgencies and propaganda of reconstruction, the theme of homelessness became a favourite topic of cultural criticism across Cold War Europe. The failure of the system - of whatever kind - to provide shelter was a central theme of political commentary. During the Thaw in Eastern Europe, for instance, homelessness was turned into an indictment of the failures of Stalinism.
From the early 1950s on the home emerged as a high-profile public symbol across the Cold War divide, with each side emphasising the threat to ordinary lives that the other posed. As such idealised homes were often charged with representing entire political philosophies. Yet actual homes and the domestic possessions that they contained were lent diverse and even contrary meanings within overarching Cold War ideologies. Domestic luxury, for instance, was variably interpreted as a reward for achievement, as a sign of anti-social greed or -- in the case of the Soviet Union during the 1950s -- as decadence and bad taste.
After 1945 the forms of housing also underwent significant material and technical change. Many of the inter-war visions of avant-garde domestic architecture and modern lifestyles were realised, albeit in modified forms that reflected the ideological priorities and economic conditions of the day. While state-sponsored social housing dramatically transformed the fabric of entire cities, the drive to popularise new housing based on self-consciously modern forms such as the open plan and "Contemporary Style" furnishings aimed to make over domestic interiors in the name of progress and prosperity. In an era of rapid social change, why did dreams of family life, domestic security and a modern home remain one of the most enduring leitmotivs of Cold War politics, social experience and cultural memory?
Proposals for papers exploring the representation, occupation and provision of homes in Europe during the 1945-60 are invited from scholars working in any discipline and any national context.
Only limited funds are available to support the travel and accommodation costs of participants in this event.
For further information or to propose a paper (title and 200-300 word abstract), please contact Anne Matchette
- Londres (UK)
- mercredi 15 janvier 2003
- Anne Matchette
courriel : ann [dot] matchette [at] rca [dot] ac [dot] uk
Source de l'information
- H-France #
courriel : cfdks [at] eiu [dot] edu
Pour citer cette annonce
« The Post-War European Home », Appel à contribution, Calenda, Publié le mardi 03 décembre 2002, http://calenda.org/187661