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Defrosting the freezer: From novelty to convenience - A narrative of normalization

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>11/2000
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Material Culture
Issue number3
Number of pages19
Pages (from-to)301-319
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This article examines the 'normalization' of the British freezer. It defines three phases in this process: an initial period oriented around the utility of preserving home produce; a second stage marked by the development of a frozen food infrastructure and the establishment of the freezer as a part of the efficient domestic economy; and a third subtle but significant redefinition of the primary benefits of freezing in terms of convenience. Cast in their new role as 'time machines', freezers are sold as a means of managing contemporary pressures associated with the scheduling and co-ordination of domestic life. At one level, this is a story of the gradual acceptance of a relatively standardized object. Yet this narrative suggests that the freezer's promised benefits and functions change along the way. Developing this point, we argue that the normalization of the chameleon-like freezer can only be understood in the context of similarly changing systems of food provisioning, patterns of domestic practice and allied technological devices.