Interior Design/Interior Architecture Educators Association
IDEA Journal vol:2011 pages:112-121
The process of ‘inhabitation’, the process of appropriating interior, domestic spaces by individuals is a complex phenomenon that has been studied in different disciplines and relying upon different theoretical frameworks. These frameworks often remain implicit, whereas they nevertheless have a profound impact as to how the economy of the interior is conceptualised. This article sets out to map three of these frameworks. We discuss phenomenology, critical theory and Actor-Network-Theory (ANT). Phenomenology holds that the home is a place deeply needed by all individuals in order to be able to really come into their own. Critical theory rather seeks to unravel the hidden meanings of the domestic interiors as tied up with the logics of capitalist economy, patriarchy and hetero-normativity. ANT studies objects and people as complex entanglements that can only be fully understood when taking their interrelations into account. The paper argues that the choice of a particular framework should tune in with the research questions one is asking and with the motivations that drive particular research projects.