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Material Indicators of Family Busyness

Anthony P. Graesch

UCLA Sloan Center on Everyday Lives of Families
Working Paper No. 87


This paper considers how material culture in contemporary family kitchens evidences a middle-class culture of busyness. Although broader survey-level data suggest that Americans enjoy more leisure time than in previous decades, patterns in how families use home spaces and in the types of objects placed in these spaces point to heightened levels of everyday busyness. Kitchens, in particular, are among the most intensively used spaces in dual-income family homes, serving as sites of frequent congregation. Using data that derive from the content analysis of 1,700 digital photographs, I explore how recurring assemblages of objects index familiesí attention to the organization and coordination of time.

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