Living Space: the Changing Meaning of Home

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The home is often viewed as an unproblematic location in which new occupational roles, relationships and uses can be fitted. There has been a marked increase in home-based work, leisure and medical care. How these functions can be accommodated within houses designed for conventional domestic and household activities often remains unclear. Drawing on an in-depth study of teleworking (home-based computer working), this article explores the meaning and experience of real, symbolic and lived household space. The findings suggest that households strive to retain the conventional look, feel and function of the home even when occupants are required to establish new roles and occupations. This resistance to spatial change occurs as a deliberate and rational choice.

The article is theoretical in content and does not directly explore the experiences of disabled people. It provides a sociological perspective of the home, which is often missing from medical and rehabilitation literature. It challenges a number of taken-for-granted notions about the social construction of the home, which will be of interest to therapists whose work often involves the incorporation of new roles and daily activities into the home.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2000

More about this publication?
  • The British Journal of Occupational Therapy (BJOT) is the official journal of the College of Occupational Therapists. Its purpose is to publish articles relevant to theory, practice, research, education and management in occupational therapy internationally.

    BJOT publishes research articles, critical reviews, practice analyses, opinion pieces, editorials, letters to the editor, book reviews and an annual index. Please refer to the author's guide at

    Submissions can be made at

    The 2013 Impact Factor for The British Journal of Occupational Therapy is 0.897.

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