‘Folding’ Space, Bridging Horizons: the Case for Photo-elicitation in the Study of Home/Housing

Soaita, A. M. and McKee, K. (2020) ‘Folding’ Space, Bridging Horizons: the Case for Photo-elicitation in the Study of Home/Housing. Housing Studies Association Annual Conference 2020, Nov 2020.

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Drawing on participant-generated photo-elicitation in telephone interviews conducted with private tenants in Britain, we contribute to a new strand of home literature that engages with the vibrant materiality of things. In particular, the paper reflects on how our pioneering methodological approach empowered participants to introduce their own points of view through ‘thick’ descriptions, revealed previously undocumented home practices and enabled researchers’ reflexivity and the co-production of knowledge with participants located miles away. The method powerfully captures home’s tangible and intangible materialities and their importance to wellbeing in ways that words-alone interviews cannot. We conclude by introducing the metaphor of ‘the fold’ to reflect on the benefits of photo-elicitation in telephone interviewing by transporting the researcher into the participant’s home; and the allegory of ‘the invisible tether’ to reflect on differentials in tenants’ space of agency in constructing a sense of home in the UK’s private renting sector (PRS). We argue that housing studies can benefit from engaging photo-elicitation in questions spanning from the abstract to the concrete, and from the inside to the outside of the home.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Soaita, Dr Adriana Mihaela
Authors: Soaita, A. M., and McKee, K.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Urban Studies
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