‘Unhome’ sweet home
DOI link for ‘Unhome’ sweet home
‘Unhome’ sweet home book
Everyday life provides that reservoir of meanings which allows us to make sense of reality. It is the ‘taken-for-granted’ dimension of our existence. With this in mind, in this chapter we investigate the ‘new normalities’ of life in lockdown. We conducted 20 in-depth interviews with a population of childless, highly educated young adults living in northern Italy. Participants report mixed feelings and experiences associated with being locked in their homes: cosiness alongside restriction; the freedom to call friends combined with forced physical isolation; the need to do work in places usually devoted to relaxing. Being forced to stay at home is also a cognitively ambiguous situation, in which people feel themselves to be ‘in-waiting’. In practical terms, the participants coped with this uncertainty by creating and adhering to rigid routines and new habits. We analyse the participants’ ‘definition of their situation’ in terms of the Freudian concept of the Unhemlich (the uncanny, but also the ‘unhomely’). The uncanny refers to the psychological experience of something as strangely familiar. It describes situations where something familiar appears in an unsettling context. Our hope is that this analysis will inform future research on the effects of the lockdown on mental health.