Graduation year: 2022
Semester/year area of interest proposed: Spring 2020
Major status: ENVS single major
Other major (if applicable):
Minor(s) (if applicable):
Other reasons as to why commodities and material goods accumulate within our homes can also be seen in the sociology of consumption, where the acquisition of new goods brings greater symbolic meaning to our lives. According to Martin Hand, Elizabeth Shove, and Dale Southerton, our need to replace and multiply the materials in our home is strongly dominated by the concept of sociological domestic practices (2007). They state that “symbolic consumption acts as a mechanism of social comparison, with groups competing over the legitimacy of taste and, in the process, volumes of consumption increase, (Hand et al., 2007). This notion of symbolic consumption has been developed over the past decades, in some cases fueled by the capitalist systems and corporations, to install this sense of value.
However, the ways in which we interact with commodities follow quite wasteful practices. Depending on the cultures and regions of the world being looked at, these consumptive practices vary. Yet on a global scale, the consumptive habits that are now used to create, design, and fill our homes and communities demonstrate a practice of concern. Nur Ayalp analyzed how our process of creating desired spaces can take more cautious steps for reducing the implications of interior design and space development while still improving our quality of life (2012). Our sense of place and how we wish to create it will increasingly matter as it serves as a remedy against the distractions and interferences of the issues we face today. If this is the case, our means of creation and design must embody the environmentally responsible practice and usage of natural resources in the process of fabrication, manufacturing, installation, use, reuse, recycle and disposal of commodities, (Ayalp, 2012).
This area of interest I wish to explore is extremely relevant in a number of ways. Consumerism of commodities is relevant to the many problems present in (and not limited to) global waste disposal, pollution of toxic emissions, and use of energy and water consumption in which are affecting people’s and natural resources’ health and well-being. It further examines the anthropological and sociological thinking behind consumption for space and place. This research into space and geographical commodities examines the reasoning and environmental effects behind our connection to the material, spatial, and temporal organization of our spaces. This area of interest is also relevant in the sense that our surroundings hold great value at this present time. The current COVID-19 pandemic has sent those of us across the globe inside our homes and away from others. We are encompassed by and limited to a single space. Because of this, I see my topic of human relationships with space to be even more relevant and interesting.
- How can we continue our relation and engagement with our sense of place while sustaining our practices for the future?
- In what ways do the materials generated from creating spaces impact waste generated externalities and impacts on natural resources and human health?
- In which societies and cultures does the accumulation of stuff add significant value to personal livelihood and well-being?
- Do anthropological development and current sociological practices hold the main reasonings behind the desire for sense of place and comfort?
- SOAN 305 Environmental Sociology
- Explores the interactions between societies and their environments based on a grassroots and local to systematic and larger scale. (Spring 2020)
- HIST 261 Global Environmental History
- Researching from the historical to current interactions between humans and the natural environment. Brings light to the developments of human practices and how we came to the Anthropocene/ capitalist societies. (Fall 2019)
- ECON 260 Environmental and Natural Resource Economics
- Analysis of environmental and resource problems ranging from hazardous-waste disposal to air pollution, species extinction to global warming, from an economic perspective. (Fall 2022)
Here are the required breadth courses I will include in my ENVS major/minor: CHEM 100, GEOL 150, ENVS 460, SOAN 265, HIST 388, PHIL 215. These are in addition to my ENVS core courses, and the area of interest courses I propose above.
Revisions to date
- February 2020- Feedback from Jessica Kliess surrounding the strengths and weaknesses of my AOI. Advised adding a more situated concept and simplifying some of the more complicated ideas I had. Also mentioned taking out the beginning paragraph which was subjected, in which I implemented.
- February 20- Key questions were edited so that they are in the correct categories as well as regarding the summary in a more effective way.
- March 2020- Discussion with Bruce Podobnik surrounding sustainable interiors in Portland. Offered insights on concepts behind my topic and overall AOI feedback.
- April 3- Revised background and references to be more concise and to the point of my topic. Words and phrases referenced in a more understandable way, so not to be confusing for readers. Related courses were edited and breadth courses added. Revised title. And edited conclusion to extend the relevance based on the current global crisis.
- April 15- Added bullet points and final corrections.
- Ayalp, Nur. 2012 “Environmental Sustainability in Interior Design Elements.” Interior Architecture and Environmental Design.
- Goodman, Michael K., David Goodman, and Michael Redclift. 2009.“Situating Consumption, Space and Place.” Environment, Politics and Development Working Paper Series.
- Hand, Martin, Elizabeth Shove, and David Southerton. 2007 “Home Extensions in the United Kingdom: Space, Time, and Practice.” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, Volume 25.
- Nieuwenhuis, Marijn. 2016. “The Emergence of Materialism in Geography: Belonging and Being, Space and Place, Sea and Land.” Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Warwick, UK.