Alone and together in domestic space: navigating spatial and conceptual relationship boundaries in Finnish small-scale communes

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This article explores the ways residents of Finnish small-scale communes navigate boundaries between personal separateness and the group’s togetherness within a domestic space. Studies on communal living have shed light on the ambivalence in communal relations, where people choose to live together but simultaneously remain independent from one another. However, the ways space affects their navigations of this ambivalence have not yet been analysed in detail. Based on 31 semi-structured interviews with residents of Finnish small-scale communes, floor plans drawn by interviewees of their homes and two ethnographic fieldwork periods, I argue that navigations of the residents’ separateness and unity are deeply intertwined with spatial processes and that the sensory and embodied spatial connections complicate the possibilities of distinguishing the individual from the group. Communal dwellers navigated their mutual boundaries through their daily use of the spaces, which centred embodied acts, spatial orientations and sensory experiences.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFamilies, Relationships and Societies : An international Journal of research and debate
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 5141 Sociology
  • boundary work
  • domestic space
  • communal living
  • embodied space
  • small-scale commune

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