Assignment 2.3 – Home as Identity

Conceptions of Home seem to vary widely between individuals, but there are underlying similarities. Home seems to be at its core a feeling. It can be linked to a place, a history, a representation of one’s values, or some other thing. Most importantly, Home is an integral part of one’s identity. After reading several of my classmates’ entries, it has become evident that one feels at Home when one is at some place, with some person, or doing some thing that they believe defines who they are.

When Home is equated with individual identity, it becomes a far more important and powerful concept than if it were to only refer to a location. Further, Home can be a concept bigger than an individual, as something that an entire group identifies with. Here we enter the struggles for Home that colonialism has created for both settler and native. I will go through some of the conceptualizations of Home I found in my peers’ entries and explain this concept of Home as identity.

Home can be a place, or an attachment to a physical location (Alanna Joy). This is not limited to one location, but can be several or many locations of varying size and scope. Just as the number of locations does not matter, neither does where those locations are. They will be different for each individual, because each individual will identify with a given place differently. Joy never had a “home base,” but she still felt at Home in various different places. The sense of comfort brought on by each physical location is a result of the way that Joy self-identifies, and how much each location becomes part of her identity. As I said above, this has grander political implications when identity is described collectively, as the claims to Home become larger (in distance) and stronger.

Home can be a “state of mind” (Victoria Woo). Like Joy, Woo finds Home in various locations but concludes that “our emotions and subjective feelings … inform our attachment to physical features in place, and collectively, contribute to feelings of ‘home.'” For her, Home can be tied to place, but Home is not inherently place. Home is something that exists as a feeling or an attachment towards a place. Again, she feels as though each of these places are part of her identity, or build themselves up to be part of her identity, giving them importance.

Home can also be a person (Heather James). James’ brother and her relationship with him are both integral parts of her identity. I am likely becoming quite repetitive by now, but Home is by nature a feeling for James that results from the way that she self-identifies.

I would expand these conceptions of Home to include Home as an action. One might feel at Home playing an instrument, or playing a sport, or driving a car, or sitting on a park bench. In any case, one would say that activity is an integral part of their identity, thus making it Home to him/her.

Home is a feeling of comfort brought on by personal or group conceptions of identity, which means that Home could really be anything. As I alluded to above, this may not have major sociopolitical implications on a personal level. However, when the identity of a larger group is tied to a particular thing as Home, competition from another group to sequester that thing would be met with defensiveness. A group’s identity is its key to existence – without having a thing with which we can collectively identify, who are we? – and when that group’s Home is being threatened, it is not simply a question of having a place to live, but a question of survival.

With knowledge of the importance of Home to identity, it is hubristic to play off another’s concerns over the loss of their Home as petty. Given this, understanding that Home is integral to another’s identity is at the core of reducing unnecessary conflict and misunderstanding. Acknowledging the way that Home is truly conceptualized forces one to make concessions and considerations for others at times when conflict would otherwise result.


Works Cited

James, Heather. “Home.” Heather James: ENGL 470A. WordPress, 9 June 2016. Web. 10 June 2016.

Joy, Alanna. “Assignment 2.2.” Alanna’s English 470 Blog. WordPress, 7 June 2016. Web. 10 June 2016.

Woo, Victoria. “2.2 – Stories About ‘Home’.” Journeying Through ENGL 407: Oh Canada. WordPress, 5 June 2016. Web. 10 June 2016.

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