Meticulous study of the home

Meticulous study of the home: the home stands in the centre of interdisciplinary approaches, but now I mainly focus on historical research. Referring to some of the most outstanding classical works, Norbert Elias in Über den Prozeß der Zivilisation (1939, reprinted 1969) demonstrated how the introduction of forks and knives during the vanishing years of the Middle Ages, the longue durée transformation of table manners radically reshaped human relations, social conditions and led to the emergence of the European habitus, the inherently civilized, self-controlled behavior. Jürgen Habermas in his seminal social historical study of the European public sphere (1962) convincingly argues that the bourgeoise gained self-assurance, critical attitudes of political decisions and became the leading social strata of modern times due to redefining the intimate home as the basis of their social and cultural identity. Both fundamental inquiries call attention to the cultural significance of small shifts in practical activities and the social potentials of the private sphere. Recently, Friedrich Lenger (2013), Vittorio Magnago Lampugnani (2010), Anita Aigner (2010), Daniel Rogers (1998) and Marcus Graser (1997) demonstrate how the home, and most importantly working class homes and living conditions became focal points of moral, medical and social political discourses already during the last decades of the nineteenth-century. The harsh criticism of miserable and unhealthy living standards alerted contemporary authorities and resulted in profound urban reforms, among others, Haussmann’s redesign of Paris. Gerd Kuhn (2007), Lisa Kühel (2007) and Britta Tornow (2007) argue how due to economic growth middle class intimate living styles and the rational, functionalist structuring of the living space spread as standards among the lower classes in Paris, Rome, Copenhagen, Berlin and Vienna.