Transforming Houses in Southeast Asia: New Materials, Aspirations and Change


Single Panel


Session 10
Fri 14:00-15:30 Room 3.10


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Southeast Asia’s diverse built landscape has ranged prominent in the scholarly, most notably anthropological, studies of houses (Carsten and Hugh-Jones 1995; Sparkes and Howell 2003; Waterson 2009 [1990]). Indeed, houses are more than mere architecture in Southeast Asia are multi-faceted entities and have been studied in various relevant dimensions – including their cosmological aspect (Cunningham 1964), their role in shaping and enabling sociality and relatedness (Allerton 2013, Carsten 1997), their becoming remade as cultural heritage (Allerton 2003, Berliner 2012), or the aesthetic politics engrained in their design (Elinoff 2016) to name but a few themes. What received less attention, though, is the transformation of housing that is occurring all over Southeast Asia – albeit to varying degrees and at different paces. Concrete is certainly on the rise in Southeast Asia – not only for huge infrastructure projects but also for ordinary houses, thereby changing the design and our understandings of vernacular architecture in the region. How does transformation of houses occur? How are new materials, emerging aspirations and changing relations implied in and/or contributing to these transformations?

This panel will address these questions systematically and based on empirical material related to Southeast Asia. The contributors are invited to engage with the topic from a diverse set of angles. Thus, emphasis may be given to kinship, the experience of space, to the political context, materiality, narratives of development, socio-economic change among other possible topics immediately connected to house transformations occurring in urban and, especially, rural Southeast Asia.