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Lives on Wheels: Caravan Homes in Contemporary Europe
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Anthropology.
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In the public imaginary the caravan has time and again been associated with stigmatised groups in society. Nevertheless, this vehicle-home has held a visible position in Western Europe’s leisure landscape in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries as a potent symbol of working-class tourism. But what happens when presumably mobile caravans are used for long-term and full-time ‘static’ housing? Based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted on campsites in Spain and Sweden, as well as within the camping industry, this study depicts how the caravan and the campsite’s ambiguous material qualities both come to fit and to challenge conventional domestic ideals. Among lower-middle-class and working-class Europeans, a growing use of mobile dwellings is closely related to issues concerning lifestyle changes and retirement and ideal notions of domestic downsizing. The thesis thus tunes in on what is identified as an emergence of an alternative housing form in a Western European context, wherein materiality and mobility become interrelated through a temporal, spatial and social notion of potential mobility. By addressing how the caravan, as a potentially mobile domestic form, produces specific spatiotemporal imaginations and practices, this thesis demonstrates how it furthermore comes to be incorporated into a multifaceted withdrawal to a ‘good life’ in times of uncertainty.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University , 2015. , 245 p.
Stockholm studies in social anthropology, ISSN 0347-0830 ; 10
Keyword [en]
Home, Materiality, Material Culture, Mobility, Europe
National Category
Social Anthropology
Research subject
Social Anthropology
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-119496ISBN: 978-91-7649-243-7OAI: diva2:846464
Public defence
2015-11-06, Nordenskiöldsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 12, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Available from: 2015-10-15 Created: 2015-08-17 Last updated: 2015-09-25Bibliographically approved

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Leivestad, Hege Høyer
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