Locked Down, Sucked In, or Throwntogether? A Visual Autoethnography of a Home- Space in 2020

Authors: James Baker*, University Of Nebraska - Lincoln
Topics: Cultural Geography, Qualitative Methods, Gender
Keywords: intimacy, autoethnography, visual methods, lockdown, home, coronavirus, timespace, material, Massey, Sloterdijk,
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/8/2021
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:15 AM
Room: Virtual 55
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Using visual autoethnography, I chronicle being sucked into the material, rhetorical, and immunospherical world of Covid-19, exploring practices of space creation through the (de)limitation of “home intimacies” in and around Lincoln, Nebraska. As familiar space-times lock down – my children’s favorite playgrounds; bare faces in public; challenges of homeschooling as an academic parent – new intimacies of public and private life redefine and contest the home as sphere: “immune-systemically effective space creations for ecstatic beings that are operated on by the outside” (Sloterdijk 2011). Examining this tension, I revisit the materialist rhetoric of Massey’s (2005) throwntogetherness as grounded in “home-space,” describing the diverse trajectories and horizons of action which “stretch beyond the home-site” where the process of opening and closing the bubble of home-space is always already (un)made and remade (Gorman-Murray 2016). New home intimacies under lockdown emerge in a time marked by boredom and ecstatic disquietude: frought cross-country drives connect distant family members before the birth of our third child; fieldwork illuminates deserted downtown Lincoln; vacationers are encountered during a socially-distanced homestay; and I am hospitalized for two weeks following a traumatic fall in early June. Home under lockdown, as I experience, is a viscous, porous and constellative phenomenon (McNely 2019; Tuana 2008), enfolding relations around specific places, people, lines, and (im)mobilities. This conceptualization of the intimate calls for new understandings of “the intersection between things and people, between feats of engineering and social structures, between experiences and bodies” (Tuana 2008, 189), where privilege and politics contest and ally.

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