Altered Meanings of Home Before and During COVID-19 Pandemic
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Home came into focus immediately upon learning that COVID-19 is highly contagious and spread by human contact. Precautions people can take to safeguard themselves included physical distancing, social isolation, and staying at home. Despite phases of loosening or tightening precautions in most parts of the world, home retained its safe space status, almost irrespective of geographical location. Recent studies have shown that safety, security, and familiarity are the most referred positive attributes of home. Challenging this attenuation by scholars, negative or mixed meanings of home were highlighted in literary work and critics. Based on our integrative perspective bringing scientific and literary work together, we argue that pandemic might lead to changes in the meaning of home both in positive and negative directions simultaneously, inducing an ambiguous experience or even engendering a situated ambivalence. In this regard, we retrospectively inquired about the changes in home’s meaning in its social, personal, and symbolic attributes. A data set of 66 participants from 15 cities in Turkey revealed that there are not only alterations in the existing connotations of home but also additional ones, in positive, negative, and both directions. Results obtained in the pandemic context were discussed in the light of home studies through a constructionist perspective. © 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG part of Springer Nature.