Image by Ciara Nugent
‘Home’ is a simple but nuanced thing; it is a significant geographical and social concept. It is not only a three-dimensional structure, a shelter, but it is also a matrix of social relations and has wide symbolic and ideological meanings; home can be feelings of belonging or of alienation; feelings of home can be stretched across the world, connected to a nation or attached to a house; the spaces and imaginaries of home are central to the construction of people’s identities (Blunt & Dowling).
For many or most, home in any guise, scribes itself onto our ‘mnemonic palimpsest', upon which layers of memory are recorded through our life-time’. In other words, home is a package of past experiences, and the way we chose to remember them has an important influence on our personalities. It is those records which have been etched on our soul which shape our perception in reading fundamental aspects of life, such as, family, security and identity. After all, “we are nothing more than the sum of our memories and experiences” (Michael Scott).
Therefore, it stands to reason, home will be a primary source from which we remember this period of Covid-19. Home will play a great role in how we adapt personally and socially to this challenging period of history.
Acknowledging that, at some point we will belong to a post-covid community, it is supremely important that we are mindful of the risks associated with home-stay conditions and that our sense of home could fundamentally change. Many of home’s once familiar spaces which subtly reinforced a sense of place and belonging, could become imbued with problematic meaning, and represent a complicated and contrasting set of post-covid emotions. We can determine whether those memories are positive or negative by acting to take ownership of our situation..