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Condensing practices: Ways of living with a freezer

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/12/2007
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Consumer Culture
Issue number1
Volume7
Number of pages26
Pages (from-to)79-104
Publication statusPublished
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

In the UK, the majority of households have a freezer and by most criteria it would be fair to say that home freezing and frozen food provisioning reached sociotechnical 'closure' some 20 years ago or more. Detailed examination of how people actually live with freezers suggests, by contrast, that associated consumption practices and processes are varied, unstable and subject to change. Interviews with representatives of 40 households provide new insight into the ways in which discursive, material and temporal aspects of daily life condense around the freezer. In analysing these experiences, we suggest that freezing is persistently dynamic because the freezer figures as an orchestrating node around which multiple aspects of consumption and provision converge.We show how different ways of living with a freezer are negotiated and maintained and we discuss the relation between household practices and the systems of provision with which they intersect.We suggest that concepts like those of 'domestication' and 'normalization' fail to capture the persistently dynamic status of material objects in daily life, or their constitutive role in systems of social order. In response, we argue for an analysis of 'normalization' as an ongoing achievement, and for an interpretation of freezing as a surprisingly performative process involving the active integration of materials, ideologies and skills.