Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Empty and strange without plants

11.04.2007
To most of us, it’s hard to imagine a home that has no plants at all. Why are plants so important? A new dissertation from Umeå University in Sweden provides insight into our relationship with potted plants in the home.

The dissertation Life, Mood, and Meaning deals with the relationship between humans and things, addressing the feelings of humans in relation to plants in the home. It shows how potted plants affect people’s way of viewing their lives, their identity, and their space.

“These are big questions," says the ethnologist Clas Bergvall, author of the dissertation. “It is indeed a challenge to reflect upon them in terms of how we shape our homes. The challenge is all the greater since potted plants belong to the small, everyday things that are often overlooked in relation to the truly important items on the agenda."

Superficially speaking, potted plants have no indispensable function in a home. The fact that they are nevertheless found in virtually all homes is grounded in a feeling that a home is not a home without plants. Once in the home, plants come close to the everyday activities, feelings, and memories of the dwellers. They become saturated with meaning and, despite their apparent insignificance, they have a deep impact on people’s lives. Plants provide an image of the shifting of the seasons and the course of life, representing a link with nature, which has become more and more remote. They stand for what is beautiful and pleasant in life, and being able to nurture them is a confirmation that we have what it takes to create a real home.

“People’s relationship to potted plants can be perceived as a free zone for our own thoughts, in contrast with our often stressful existence, with all its demands," explains Clas Bergvall. “They also remind us of situations and people we have encountered in life and create a sense of human communion across space and time. To individuals, potted plants are part of what both reminds them of and helps form the shifting phases of their lives."

When potted plants first started to appear in Sweden, in the orangeries of the nobility, they were something of a status symbol. But the view of indoor plants would change, and as early as the first half of the 20th century they had become a given part of what makes a house a home, a zone for reflection and feelings about your own life. The cultural significance of potted plants was established in the early 20th century and is found both in August Strindberg’s Black Banners and Ellen Key’s Beauty for All. The same way of perceiving them is also found in florist shops.

“But even though the overarching view of potted plants recurs in various contexts, the concrete contents of feelings, images, and memories create something uniquely personal," explains Clas Bergvall. “My dissertation provides an in-depth view of potted plants in the home, but also of the reader’s own personal self."

The book is published by Carlssons bokförlag. For review copies, please contact the publisher (www.carlssonbokforlag.se).

On Friday, April 20, 2007 Clas Bergvall, Department of Culture and Media, will publicly defend his dissertation titled Life, Mood, and Meaning: On the Cultural Significance of Potted Plants. The public defense will take place at 1:15 p.m. in Auditorium F, Humanities Building, Umeå University. The external examiner will be Dr. Hildur Kalman, Department of Social Work, Umeå University.

Reference link: http://www.carlssonbokforlag.se

Helena Vejbrink | alfa
Further information:
http://www.carlssonbokforlag.se

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht New 3-D model predicts best planting practices for farmers
26.06.2017 | Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

nachricht Fighting a destructive crop disease with mathematics
21.06.2017 | University of Cambridge

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA looks to solar eclipse to help understand Earth's energy system

21.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

Stanford researchers develop a new type of soft, growing robot

21.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Vortex photons from electrons in circular motion

21.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>