Homing – finding / making / destroying home?
Maren Hartmann is a professor for communication and media sociology at the University of the Arts (UdK) in Berlin. In 2017, she was the Riksbanken Alexander-von-Humboldt-Fellow at the University of Lund. Before joining the UdK, she worked at several universities in the UK, Belgium and Germany. She has been the chair of the Digital Culture and Communication section at ECREA, as well as the sociology of media communication section in the German DGPuK. Her publications range from cyberculture to questions of media appropriation and more recently, the question of media and mobilities. In the last three years, she co-headed a research group on ‘Mediated Time’, funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG).
One of the frameworks that has accompanied her work throughout is the domestication approach. This concept has always offered a direct link to the physical environment of the home as well as addressed less straightforward questions about the relationship between a more fragile notion of home, media use, well-being and more. In her talk, Maren Hartmann will return to these questions, re-visiting and addressing both ontological as well as epistemological aspects. One of her starting points is that we often take home for granted – in both the physical as well as the conceptual sense. On top of this, we often rely on “being at home” – somewhere or somehow – for our well-being and our identity-formation. In times, however, where the notion of the good life is newly questioned and where insecurities seem once again on the rise, we need to take a new look at this understanding of home. As is often the case, this crucial concept begins to be questioned in moments where it is threatened or otherwise questioned from the outside, where it is potentially destroyed. Drawing on work on homelessness, this talk asks whether it might be better to loosen the idea of home and instead concentrate on processes of homing – making oneself at home in diverse ways. It also addresses the question what role media can play therein.