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Keeping It Full: The Meaning of the Refrigerator for Domestic Consumption and Reproduction in Modern Everyday Life in Turkey

Figen Isik T√ľneri

The refrigerator is one of the most significant items of domestic technology products to manage everyday domestic life in the modern world. The refrigerator is not only simply indispensable to preserve food, but also its usage informs us of the ways in which certain cultural meanings, values and emotions are shaped and experienced with regard to domestic reproduction and consumption.

The premise that material objects convey emotions gives reference to emotional aspects of everyday practices conducted by objects. Emotional aspects of practices within everyday realities of people motivate certain dispositions around the objects in use. In terms of family care, the refrigerator serves for the management of a socio-culturally highly valued reproductive function in Turkish domestic life, that is, feeding. I argue that reproduction of domestic life with the help of domestic technology products, concurrently, reproduces the social and cultural values, meanings and emotions that are attributed both to those products and domestic reproduction and consumption. Thus, dispositions around the refrigerator can be regarded as a repository for the perpetuation of those attached values and meanings.

As part of a larger socio-ethnographic study on the use of the refrigerator in Turkey, this paper is about the refrigerator stories that reveal emotional responses of my informants to the degree of abundance of food in their refrigerator with regard to the symbolic aspects of domestic reproduction and consumption. People from different social strata respond differently to that issue. The main concern is to understand the ways in which those emotional responses generate certain dispositions around the refrigerator.


refrigerator, domestic consumption and reproduction, Emotions, dispositions around the refrigerator