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The Making of the Modern Kitchen

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June FreemanEdit

June Freeman is an independent sociologist.

The Making of the Modern Kitchen [2004]Edit

Making of the Modern Kitchen is a sociological exploration of kitchen buyers in contemporary Britain. Its claims to "cultural history" are somewhat marginal; analysis of key figures such as Catherine Beecher feel reductive and under-historicized. Additionally, the complete dismissal of critical theory/ideology claims seems to lack a thorough knowledge of the many divergent discourse in critical theory. Freeman asserts that this work is part of the developing realm of design studies, as well as sociology.

The author opens with a brief "history" of the kitchen, framing Catherine Beecher's and Christine Frederick's books as competing models influencing kitchen development. Beecher is refered to as religiously obsessed with order, while Frederick's stakes are in those of scientific management. Some time is given to developments in efficiency studies and work management.

The rest of the book revolves around 74 couples who invested money in re-making their kitchens. Initial findings prove that kitchen's are a heavy investment, and that families tend to spend more money renovating the kitchen than any other room in the house. Other focuses include how buying desicions are made and divided between the couples, the relevance given to aesthetics, importance of decor and knick-knacks, and how individuals discuss their understanding of their present kitchen against their memories of their parents' kitchen.

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