Canadian Anthropology Society (CASCA)
Volunteered - Oral Presentation Session
Tiny houses have become a social media sensation in recent years. But what accounts for their rising popularity? In my paper, I take a close and critical look at the growing popular desire for tiny houses in contemporary North America, as well as the dreams that tiny houses inspire. My research findings are based on multi-sited SSHRC-funded ethnographic research with tiny house enthusiasts, as well as current and future tiny house owners. My paper describes the ways in which tiny houses and tiny house dreams allow people to (re)imagine themselves in the present and future, and further, how tiny houses become a means by which people signal their aesthetics, politics, and virtues to others. I likewise interrogate the sociopolitical and environmental milieux in which tiny house dreams may flourish. Building my analysis upon a substantial body of anthropological literature relating to houses, homes, and dwelling and approaching tiny houses as a kind of “second skin” (Carsten & Hugh-Jones, 1995), I consider the capacity of tiny houses to “make” people, and I look closely at how this trend speaks to the current moment of historical moment.