Home Satisfaction and Underlying Values: A Social Relations Perspective on House and Neighborhood Satisfaction Levels
Michelle Steward

The unique role of homes in structuring and reflecting people's lifestyles makes them an apt subject for inquiries into broader questions of social relations. In this project, I will use people's conceptions of homes and neighborhoods as a window into class-based value systems. By interviewing residents of various neighborhoods about their levels of satisfaction with their homes and neighborhoods, I will explore patterns that point towards class-based differences in principles, processes making judgments, and determinants of satisfaction. Preliminary interviews have suggested class-based contrasts that are not just different, but in direct opposition of each other. When talking about their homes, some residents stressed luxury amenities, while others focused on frugal efficiency. Where some wanted privacy, others desired neighborly intimacy. An examination of these differences can be used both to better understand social and class relations, and to increase understanding of what underlies home satisfaction levels.