Submission deadline:

March 31, 2024

Dwelling with Class

kritische berichte. Zeitschrift für Kunst- und Kulturwissenschaften 2/2025
This issue of kritische berichte is guest edited by Amelie Ochs and Rosanna Umbach, Mariann
Steegmann Institute. Art & Gender (research unit dwelling+/-exhibiting), Institute for Art History
– Film Studies – Art Education, University of Bremen.

Dwelling and class are interrelated and have been mutually dependent since (at least) the formation of a discourse about dwelling in modernity. The distinctions between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ forms of dwelling and ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ ways of living are part of a (modern) aesthetic tradition that is intertwined with both moral principles and a significant production of images in art and architecture. As models these images mark class boundaries. Milieu theories and domestic guides have amalgamated dwellings and residents since the mid-19th century at the earliest: architectural structures, domestic objects (arranged) in them, ‘furnishing taste’ and ‘lifestyle’ would therefore allow direct conclusions to be drawn about the residents’ character. This can be critically questioned from a class-conscious perspective: to what extent are economic and social structures made in/visible here? How are class relations re/produced in images of dwelling, floor plans, interior design, architecture and urban planning? We encounter the imperative of a supposedly ‘correct’ way of living and dwelling in both, idealized images in art and architecture as well as in lifestyle magazines and home journals, TV series and on Instagram. Here, ideas of class relations are perpetuated. Regarding furnishings, taste and consumption, they are integrally involved in visualizing and thus re/producing classist resentments. The models of bourgeois dwelling as an unmarked norm continues to shape the common notion of this ‘proper’ dwelling, which is usually identified as heteronormative, small- family and white. Furthermore, it is permeated by values of gender and functional segregation, privacy and space, the nuclear family and comfort, ‘tasteful’ furnishings and ownership. The precarious, unhoused dwelling remains mostly unmentioned and is dismissed then as now as individualized fault or dashing against the ‘right’ way of living.

Following research into classism, this issue aims to bring together various perspectives that critically examine dwelling in terms of class relations. Conceptualized as a form of discrimination, classism opens up a perspective for a process of de-recognition to unfold on a cultural, institutional, political and individual level: advertisements for apartments that exclude welfare recipients and migrantized or racialized persons in advance, specific urban planning as well as processes of gentrification are expressions of classist conditions; as are architectural theories, artistic and media representations that invoke, produce and naturalize discriminatory stereotypes. Criticism of classism therefore also draws attention to structures that contribute to the preservation of class relations. For example, the housing question addressed by Friedrich Engels is being posed anew: Today, the campaign Deutsche Wohnen & Co enteignen! stands far beyond Berlin for an actionist intervention in the privatized housing market and raises questions about the capitalization of the human right to housing. What is more, it rearticulates the demand for socialization of housing and for a renewed emphasis on social in (social) housing.

More information on the call and the German version can be found in the full call for papers here.

The editors invite anyone researching and working on (or against) classism in dwelling to submit a short abstract of no more than 300 words (in German or English) and a short bio to: and

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