Joy And Mike’s Place: An Ethnographic Southern Comfort Snapshot

Yesterday I spent an afternoon with Joy and Mike and their daughter (my wife) and son and his wife.

We were having a get-together to share some Korean delicacies sent as a gift from the Son’s in-laws and to celebrate the Birthday of Joy’s mother who passed a few years ago.

My wife often fondly reminisces about her relationship to her grandmother (referred to as Mama Gran) and what a strong influence she was in how she curates her home, her penchant for entertaining and a general sense of nurturing that she has carried with her through her adult life.

This predisposition seems to also have rubbed off on her Mom (Joy) as well. There is a certain literal gentility that translates into a cultural aesthetic seen in and around the home she shares with her husband and two dogs.

Joy and Mike have been married over 44 years and have built a home together. They both come from a rural upbringing:  working class with American dreams of upward mobility.

Their home is filled with collections and mementos. In it you see the fruits of their creative pursuits, travel keepsakes and carefully curated collections of antiques that seem to pay respect to subsistence-oriented simplicity merged integrated with emerging middle class consumer culture .

The context of their rural south upbringing woven in with the mainstream middle class life they created for themselves has led to  a very homey aesthetic that always makes me feel at ease when I visit. Here are some highlights of a brief photo walk through their indoor and outdoor space to show you some of the artifacts that make a house a home, inspired by 40 some-odd years of participation In consumer culture.

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To the other Anthropologists (and particularly, the Archaeologists), I would love to hear about what else you see here – the cultural communication evoked from what you see in these images that elaborate on my analysis or even refute / enhance it.

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