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Space, Time, and Activities in the Everyday Lives of Working Families: An Ethnoarchaeological Approach

Jeanne E. Arnold


Anthony Graesch

UCLA Sloan Center on Everyday Lives of Families
Working Paper No. 2


This paper highlights the goals and methods of the ethnoarchaeology component – the space and time studies – of the UCLA Center on Everyday Lives of Families project in Los Angeles. Our research aims include enhancing an understanding of how contemporary middle-class families express identity through their homes and their possessions (collections, badges of affiliation, genealogical displays), how they share space and/or appropriate (reserve) space within their homes, how and why their physical spaces (the houses themselves) have been modified through time, how they manage storage of their possessions, and how work-related space (job-related, school-related) is organized in the home. Using examples from L.A. families, we show how our data are collected by means of (a) systematic mapping and a digital photographic archive of house form and contents, (b) family-made, narrated video house tours, (c) questionnaires, and (d) an extensive series of timed observations of activities in all home spaces and of family members’ uses of major artifacts in and around the house.

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