Mobile Homes: Class, Space and Race in Idealized Landscapes of Home

Authors: Annemarie Galeucia*, Louisiana State University
Topics: Cultural Geography, Landscape, Qualitative Methods
Keywords: material culture, mobilities, whiteness, class, landscape
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 5:20 PM / 7:00 PM
Room: Grand Ballroom A, Sheraton, 5th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

This study explores the connections between public perceptions and regulation of mobile homes, and how this connection in turn represents and regulates the bodies residing within them. Applying various qualitative methods in participant and media research, I explored the material and social/symbolic aspects of mobile homes in and around East Baton Rouge Parish, LA, as well as media (primarily news) discussing mobile homes across the United States. I sought to explore these in relation to the normative and ideal expressions and image of the American home and its relationship to idealized American landscapes. Dialectics of mobility/rootedness and physical and social stability/instability as they relate to manufactured houses lead to a more thorough understanding of the material and social components of normative American landscapes. Moreover, this project contributes to larger conversations about whiteness in terms of class, space and mobility. I argue that by looking at the interplay between whiteness and mobility I am able to explore representations and experiences of ideal and othered landscapes within the United States. In so doing, I highlight the ironic immobility of mobile home residents, both in terms of the label “mobile” as misnomer and in terms of social mobility for residents, and explore how whiteness complicates social exclusion via mobility and idealized homes.

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