In the last decade, geographers, especially cultural geographers, have conducted a considerable number of studies on home and domestic space. The topic of home, which was considered to be familiar and banal and had been neglected in the discipline of geography, has now been given renewed focus from various perspectives. This paper aims to review the current studies of geographies of home by considering some theories in cultural geography. Subsequently, it aims to explore the possible ways of developing critical studies of geographies of home in Japanese contemporary society.
The trend toward geographies of home is examined from the following three viewpoints: The first is in moving beyond the separation of public and private spheres. Although humanistic geographers emphasized emotions and subjective meanings in their anthropocentric thought, feminist geographers have made great contributions towards conquering dualistic thinking. They have considered the idea of home as political, ambiguous, fluid, and multiscale. The second viewpoint is the oscillating consideration between mobility and stability, which stems from postcolonial studies. This involves focusing on the politics of belonging and alienation, that is, roots and routes, spatial politics and gendered geographies, and collective memory and its materialization. The third viewpoint is non-representational theory in the discipline. This theory includes a variety of ideas―materiality, performativity, post-human, affect, hybridity, etc. It can be said that parts of current research are going beyond the interpretation of representation and focusing on the ‘here and now.’ From the viewpoint of geographies of home, materiality and perfomativity are rather important for both theoretical development and social practice.
How are the recent studies on geographies of home influencing Japanese academia ? It is very important to directly face the current conditions of Japanese homes. These conditions in Japanese society can be considered as a ‘cult of domesticity.’ Home plays a critical role both in policymaking and in space consumption. The fixed idea of home is definitely not adequate in deepening our consideration of home and geography. At present, it is important for us to develop critical thinking of home at the points of intersection between the material and immaterial, public and private, and mobility and stability.