Display, desire and distinction in housing

Silva, Elizabeth and Wright, David (2009). Display, desire and distinction in housing. Cultural Sociology, 3(1) pp. 31–50.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1749975508100670


The article discusses the significance of cultural capital for the understanding of the field of housing in contemporary Britain. It explores the relationship between housing and the position of individuals in social space mapped out by means of a multiple correspondence analysis. It considers the material aspects of housing and the changing contexts that are linked to the creation and display of desire for social position and distinction expressed in talk about home decoration as personal expression and individuals' ideas of a `dream house'. It is based on an empirical investigation of taste and lifestyle using nationally representative survey data and qualitative interviews. The article shows both that personal resources and the imagination of home are linked to levels of cultural capital, and that rich methods of investigation are required to grasp the significance of these normally invisible assets to broaden the academic understanding of the field of housing in contemporary culture.

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