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 Trees and climate change: Faster growth, lighter wood
14.08.2018 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Animals and fungi enhance the performance of forests
01.08.2018 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

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: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

Im Focus: Lining up surprising behaviors of superconductor with one of the world's strongest magnets

Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur

What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

2018 Work Research Conference

25.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Staying in Shape

16.08.2018 | Life Sciences

Diving robots find Antarctic seas exhale surprising amounts of carbon dioxide in winter

16.08.2018 | Earth Sciences

Protein droplets keep neurons at the ready and immune system in balance

16.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>