I have been asked to talk about a very sensitive and complex issue: The influence of the home in social Dynamics. I will start off with the question with which the organisers begin their presentation of my speech: How is the home, and specifically the work at home, a crucial factor in the way society works and develops?
There is a lot of debate on the under-valuation of households and families. The same holds true for the natural environment, maybe on common grounds. I have arranged my presentation to look at the reasons for this and try to contribute to a solution. My interest today is to stress the influence of contemporary mainstream economics on the under-valuation of household and family work as well as of the natural environment.
In this paper I will be discussing the value of the work of the home from a policy perspective rather than a business perspective or with a particular focus on the labour market. There are about six programme areas in NEF, but what binds those different programme areas together are three overarching principles for our organisation: environmental sustainability, collective well-being and social justice.
Doing Our Home Work: Toward an Ecological and Interdisciplinary Approach to the Study of the Work of the Home
This essay is about the work done in the home: all of those tasks, big and small, that go into creating a thriving home environment. "Housework" or "work of the home," in this respect, is not limited to cooking and cleaning, but also extends to caregiving in the home.
This work of the home, this mother's work, which men poetically praise (praise is so cheap!), is not recognized by the State as having any value whatever. Neither does society recognize a value in it, notwithstanding it never tires of lauding and flattering.
In this paper, I would like to talk about Hemfrid, my company. My experience in starting and running this company has taught me a lot about the value of the home and how important the work that goes into it is. I believe that this knowledge may be able to contribute something to the topic of the panel, namely, home management. To give a brief overview, I am going to discuss Hemfrid in light of the two important pillars of the company: demand, or need, and the importance of quality and personal touch. I believe that both of these pillars, especially when considered more in depth, are important for a company that works in the home not merely because they are important in the realm of business, but because they are needs that are intrinsically linked to the home.
As a planner and an urbanist I see the world through a zoom lens. I am always 'zooming out' to the big view where we are looking at cities as a whole and then 'zooming in' to see the fine detail. That is a very important mental trick when you have a topic like house and home, because, of course, our house is our home. It is the dwelling, with its routines, its furnishings and its meals. However, the home is much more than that.
The idea of linking professionalism and homemaking is an interesting issue to explore. In the brief given to us by Home Renaissance Foundation we were asked to contribute and link our research on professionals with the aims of this conference. Our contribution draws from the areas of professional service firms and professionalism in management. From this perspective, most people would probably say that they would like to be professionals at home as they are in other spheres of their professional life.
In reading the mission and the vision of the Home Renaissance Foundation, and comparing it to our own vision and mission, I found two major points of contact which I will try to expand upon here. The first is the orientation towards the well-being of individuals and community, which is present in both of our institutions' missions. The second is the stress on the content beyond the physical structures, whether it is the home in relation to the house or, as in our case, the museum in relation to the building. In any case, the stress is on the soft versus the hard, and this I think is present in both of our missions. Let me talk about how we confront these two aspects at the museum.