In Caravans, Hege Høyer Leivestad opens the caravan door to understand how daily life is organised among Britons and Swedes who have relocated, either seasonally or permanently, to mobile homes. Leivestad investigates how the caravan and campsite come to fit and challenge conventional domestic ideals, and how the static mobile caravan can nurture ideas of freedom even when it is standing still. With sensitivity and an awareness of the humour and pathos of the lives of her subjects, Leivestad closely examines the shaping of the European camping phenomenon and its day-to-day pleasures and pains, ranging from friendships ties to conflictive bingo nights, from nosy and noisy neighbours to fake fireplaces and rotten awning floors. As the first ethnographic study of caravan life in Europe, Caravans offers a refreshing take on contemporary mobility debates, showing how movement can best be understood by taking a detailed look at certain specific mundanities in material culture. This rich and topical ethnography is a must-read for students of anthropology, human geography and architecture, and for those with an interest in the possibilities and perils of a life on wheels.
Table of Contents
AcknowledgementsCaravan and Camping GlossaryIntroduction: Standing StillChapter 1 Caravans: ‘These cupboards look like plastic’Chapter 2 Camp: ‘You like to be visible’Chapter 3 Circumstances: ‘Why don’t we just sell the house, all our things and leave?’Chapter 4 Containers: ‘You won’t even see there’s a caravan in there’Chapter 5 Community: ‘We have found here what we can’t find at home anymore’Chapter 6 Conclusion: Troubling TemporalitiesEpilogueReferencesNotes
Hege Høyer Leivestad is Postdoctoral Researcher in Social Anthropology at Stockholm University, Sweden.
"A fascinating ethnographic insight into the European world of camping. Leivestad makes some important anthropological reflections about home, class and imaginaries of (potential) mobility. - Noel B. Salazar, University of Leuven, Belgium Stuck at home or on the move? This study of caravan life provides fascinating new insights into the ambiguities of mobility: an intriguing analysis of how dreams of freedom are interwoven with seemingly mundane materialities. - Orvar Löfgren, Lund University, Sweden A magnificent book that sets a new standard for ethnographic research in contemporary Europe. In this beautifully written work, Leivestad captures how her subjects were and are experimenting with new forms of intimacy, belonging, and community. What emerge are narratives about a Europe that they and we are struggling to understand and to inhabit. - Douglas R. Holmes, State University of New York at Binghamton, USA"