Although a sense of home is central to most people’s experience of everyday life, the meaning of home is often taken for granted. Taking a wide-ranging interdisciplinary approach, my book Domestic Cultures examines the meanings and values associated with home and how these have changed over time. I explore how the meaning of home is constructed for us across a range of sites such as media, architecture and political debates. However, at the same time, we are also actively involved in shaping the meaning of domestic culture through our everyday home-making practices. Domestic Cultures explores how the home has often been seen as a political problem and identifies how boundaries between public and private life are both blurred and shifting.
I also have a particular interest in gender and domesticity. This is partly explored through my work on food media where I identify the rise of new forms of domestic masculinities in the pages of Playboy in the 1950s and in Jamie Oliver’s kitchen in The Naked Chef. My research also investigates how the meaning of domestic femininity has been reshaped and transformed at different historical moments, from the construction of the professionalized middle-class housewife in Good Housekeeping in the interwar period through to contemporary reclaiming of home by downshifting women. A final strand of this research has examined the relationships between feminism and domesticity.