Renovating with Media: An interdisciplinary exploration of renovation practice towards lower carbon homes in Australia

Publikation: Ph.d.-afhandling


Home renovation is an opportunity for decarbonising existing homes, particularly in high home ownership societies such as Australia where renovation is commonplace. Renovation is a socio-technical and emotional people-focused practice, which can take place as a one-off project and as an ongoing activity. Despite growing interest in investigating renovation in line with other everyday practices, recent literature on renovation emphasises defined periods when homes are materially re-constructed. There is limited understanding and documentation of the process before and after this window, specifically the contribution of intermediation and the significance of media in
the everyday life at home. The thesis addresses this gap, by investigating the full scope of renovation practice, paying attention to the periods before and after the materially engaged stages, to explore the significance of household media practices and intermediation in the adoption of low carbon practices.

Adopting a practice-theoretical perspective and the mediatisation approach, I carry out an interdisciplinary examination of renovation, joining social research with media and cultural studies and design. I explore renovation practice and its association with homemaking, in a mediatised home environment. I map the complexity of the practice, including the non-materially engaged periods, focusing on the contribution of two different kinds of intermediation: the formal, typically short-term interactions with professionals and the informal, ongoing entanglement of people with media as texts, objects and contexts. Using a focused-ethnography and participatory methodology, I use home-tours and a workshop to bring together the actors that shape the practice.

My thesis makes three contributions to renovation scholarship. The first relates to the interdisciplinary understanding of renovation as a practice that extends the materially engaged periods, spread in five stages (Dreaming/Thinking/Planning/Performing/Finalising or Sharing). I argue that renovation co-evolves with homemaking, in the mediatised household, and that these two practices get reproduced through common meanings of home, media technologies, emotion, and the tacit, culturally-distinct know-how of householders. This is exemplified through the ongoing Dreaming stage, which
connects the materially-engaged stages with the long-term period of imagining and meaning-making of ideal home in the mediatised home. The second contribution is the identification of media (as texts, objects, and contexts) as everyday informal intermediaries, who shape, incubate and accelerate the elements of renovation and homemaking, as meaning-making agents, materials and competences. I argue that the symbolic space of renovation is now global rather than local. The third contribution is the linking of formal and informal intermediation, with different household typologies and the identified renovation stages, examining how these shape low carbon practices. The complexity of the associated practices and the variation of household typologies explain why adoption of low carbon renovation is challenging. Using my stages model, I
identify four formal and informal intermediation practices that can assist in the
successful embedment of low carbon practices.
  • Hulse, Kath, Hovedvejleder, Ekstern person
  • Melles, Gavin, Bivejleder, Ekstern person
  • Podkalicka, Aneta, Bivejleder, Ekstern person
  • Mechlenborg, Mette, Bivejleder
UdgivelsesstedSwinburne, Australia
StatusUdgivet - feb. 2021


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