Making Multitemporality with Houses

Time Trickery, Ethical Practice and Energy Demand in Postcolonial Britain

in The Cambridge Journal of Anthropology
Restricted access

The qualities of domestic buildings that are aimed for in the energy reduction agenda, such as efficiency and zero-carbon impacts, are often at odds with the aesthetic preferences of home-owners for keeping original features of their houses unaltered. The set of visual traits followed in the maintenance and listing of character houses in the UK, and their corresponding material affordances in relation to energy demand, can be regarded as affecting and delaying the future of carbon-emission reduction promised by the country’s own Climate Change Act. This article interrogates the temporal and ethical considerations enacted in maintaining and admiring character houses with ‘original’ features. It discusses the ways in which domestic buildings emerge as multitemporal assemblages, and the forms of time trickery these processes involve in relation to notions of history, tradition and national and cultural identity.

Contributor Notes

Roxana Moroşanu completed her PhD at Loughborough University in 2014. She is the author of An Ethnography of Household Energy Demand in the UK: Everyday Temporalities of Digital Media Usage (Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming).

  • BoardmanB. 2008. When Is Demolition Appropriate? Available at <https://www.architecture.com/Files/RIBAProfessionalServices/Regions/SouthEast/General/BrendaBoardman.pdf> (accessed 1 December 2015).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • BuxbaumT. 2007. Pargeting. Princes Risborough: Shire Publications.

  • CieraadI. (ed.). 1999. At Home: An Anthropology of Domestic Space. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press.

  • FaubionJ.D. 2011. An Anthropology of Ethics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • FerraraA. 2008. The Force of the Example: Explorations in the Paradigm of Judgement. New York: Columbia University Press.

  • FordM. & P. Legon. 2003. The How To Be British Collection. Hove: Lee Gone Publications.

  • FoucaultM. 1990. The Use of Pleasure: The History of Sexuality Vol. 2. London: Penguin Books.

  • FoucaultM. 2000. Ethics: Subjectiviy and Truth (Essential Works of Foucault 1954–1984). London: Penguin Books.

  • FoxK. 2004. Watching the English: The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour. London: Hodder.

  • Gale Literature Collections. 2013. Short Stories for Students vol. 14. Mason, OH: Blackbirch Press.

  • GilesJ. 2004. The Parlour and the Suburb: Domestic Identities Class Femininity and Modernity. Oxford: Berg.

  • HenningA. 2005. Climate Change and Energy Use: The Role for Anthropological Research. Anthropology Today 21(3): 812.

  • HowkinsA. 2014 [1987]. The Discovery of Rural England. In Englishness: Politics and Culture 1880–1920. (ed.) R. Colls & P. Dodd85112. London: Bloomsbury Academic.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • JohnsonP. 1999. Runic Inscriptions in Great Britain. Glastonbury: Wooden Books.

  • LaidlawJ. 2014. The Subject of Virtue: An Anthropology of Ethics and Freedom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • MallabandB.V. Haines & V. Mitchell. 2013. Barriers to Domestic Retrofit: Learning from Past Home Improvement Experiences. In Retrofitting the Built Environment (ed.) W. Swan & P. Brown18499. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • MillerD. 1988. Appropriating the State on the Council Estate. Man 23: 35372.

  • MillerD. 2008. The Comfort of Things. Cambridge: Polity Press.

  • MillerD. (ed.). 2001. Home Possessions. Oxford: Berg.

  • PinkS. 2004. Home Truths: Gender Domestic Objects and Everyday Life. Oxford: Berg.

  • RingelF. 2014. Post-Industrial Times and the Unexpected : Endurance and Sustainability in Germany’s Fastest-Shrinking City. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 20 (S1): 5270.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • RobbinsJ. 2015. Ritual, Value, and Example : On the Perfection of Cultural Representations. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 21(S1): 1829.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • SerresM. & B. Latour. 1995. Conversations on Science Culture and Time. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

  • SovacoolB.K. 2014. What Are We Doing Here? Analyzing Fifteen Years of Energy Scholarship and Proposing a Social Science Research Agenda. Energy Research and Social Science 1: 129.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • StrathernM. 1992. After Nature: English Kinship in the Late Twentieth Century. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • StrathernM. 2004. Partial Connections (rev. edn). Walnut Creek, CA: Altamira Press.

  • TacchiJ. 2002. Radio Texture: Between Self and Others.’ In The Anthropology of Media: A Reader (ed.) K. Askew & R. Wilk24157. London: Blackwell.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • TacchiJ. 2012. Radio in the (i)Home: Changing Experiences of Domestic Audio Technologies in Britain. In Radio Fields: Anthropology and Wireless Sound in the Twenty-First Century (ed.) L. Bessier & D. Fisher23349. New York: New York University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • WilhiteH. 2005. Why Energy Needs Anthropology. Anthropology Today 21(3): 12.