Saturday, February 23, 2013

Ethnoarchaeology and Your House

Do you have room in your garage for your car?  How many of your neighbors use their garages?

How many items do you have displayed on your refrigerator?  There is a correlation between that number and the "number of objects per square foot in the house as a whole."

How much food do you have stored? How often does the family eat together?  By the way, families using pre-packaged foods take 26 minutes to prepare a meal while from scratch takes 38 minutes.

How often does anyone use the yard?  For many families the time spent in the yard - even with swings, decks, outdoor furniture - is zero.

How many family photos hang on the walls and in which rooms?  How many Barbies, books, TVs, etc.?  Sports memorabilia?  Religious items?

How do your answers compare with other American families?

After reading this picture-rich book Life at Home in the Twenty-First Century - 32 Families Open Their Doors, you will never look at your home - or anyone elses' - in the same way.

This engrossing book is based on a study done by the Center on Everyday Lives of Families (CELF) at UCLA using ethnoarchaeology: "... the scientific study of societal groups, esp. for understanding the behavioral relationships which underlie the production of material culture...".  Thirty-two California families opened their homes for a thorough research project researching not only what they had in their homes, but how they lived - how they used their possessions.  Applying ethnoarchaeology to modern homes and families produces a type of modern archaeology.

According to this book, Americans currently have the "most possessions per family in global history."  Not only will you compare your family to those in the study, but you will take a second look at all the possessions you have and wonder why you have them.

The only drawback?  The study centered on middle-class families with two working parents and two-to-three children one of whom is 7-to-12-years-old, making it hard to compare your family if you don't fit into these demographics. 

The Hillsborough Public Library has a copy of this book and it isn't often that you read a book that actually makes a difference in the way you live your life.

Life at Home in the Twenty-First Century - 32 Families Open  Their Doors, by Arnold, Graesch, Raggazzini, and Ochs. (2012).

1 comment:

One Woman's Journey - a journal being written from Woodhaven - her cottage in the woods. said...

Oh my, the first 5 questions are interesting about our homes.
Just not going to order another
book as I have many by my old chair that I have not read :)
The questions do have me wondering.
Thank you commenting on my journal.