Geographies of Home: What is home and why do we say 'geographies' rather than 'a geography' of home?

Essay by ianthefoxCollege, Undergraduate November 2005

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In the western world, one's place of residence is often referred to as one's home, however the concept of 'home' is far broader than this. In order for the idea of 'home' to be examined, we must first reinterpret the meaning of home. This essay will show that there are a number of factors which combine to give different people different perceptions of 'home'. For the purposes of this study, the ideas of belonging, territoriality, and inclusion and exclusion will be explored as a single entity. It will examine whether the idea of having 'somewhere you belong' is a natural instinct, or if it is a product of inclusion and exclusion through inequality and segregation. It will look at the politics of space; how inequality in social relations is maintained by basic structures of power through different means such as boundaries; 'home' as being something pre-determined with people becoming trapped in a space.

The essay will also focus on the idea of a 'sense of place' whereby various factors culminate so that people associate feelings with a certain space, thus transforming it into a 'place' and that place varies within a social/cultural context.

Thus, through these factors, an 'abstract space' becomes a meaningful 'place', and a meaningful place fosters the idea of 'home'.

Belonging is a very important aspect of 'home'. As mentioned previously, one's house is often referred to as one's home. However, if a person is taken out of his community, his city, his country etc., he will then consider his community, his city and his country 'home'. As Yi-Fu Tuan puts it "That earth is our place in the universe is a simple fact of observation to homesick astronauts." (Agnew, 1996, p 455). Thus, we see that 'home' is possibly just a matter of context. Territoriality also...