The meaning of home in Romania: Views from urban owner–occupiers

A.M. Soaita

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The post-communist privatisation of state flats to sitting tenants has transformed Romania into a nation of homeowners; yet its popularity appears perplexing given the poor quality of the stock and disappointing, given flat-owners’ subsequent lack of action regarding home improvement. Conversely, self-builders’ proactive agency moved them up the housing ladder. While this striking contrast draws attention to various structural conditions, which have constrained the former and enabled the latter, it also raises intriguing questions on residents’ meanings of home. By interrogating 48 homeowners’ narratives, this paper sustains the multilayered and multi-scalar meanings of home, which intertwine the socio-cultural territory of family and nation; the physical frame of one room or several dwellings; the emotional domain of object-memories; and the ontological realm epitomised by something as minimal as ‘my bed’. Findings demonstrate that flat-owners and self-builders do not significantly differ in their meanings of home but detached houses rather than flats facilitate more fully their appropriation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to) 69–85
JournalJournal of Housing and the Built Environment
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


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