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Images of Cleanliness: How Has Class and Culture Influenced Society’s Approach to Cleaning in the House?

Part 2 Dissertation 2023
Meenu Justin
University for the Creative Arts | UK
Domestic well-temperedness can be understood to be influenced by ideologies put forward through various cultural and classist views. This well-temperedness is analysed in this paper through a critical look at the act of cleanliness in the home, with reference to tools and technologies that have been specifically honed to various ideologies behind what is clean and unclean. Awareness of such influences allows us to reflect on our current behaviour and ideas around cleanliness.

The exploration of this topic brings to light the prejudiced nuances of how domestic cleaning tools have been developed in appearance and use. The revelation that such nuances exist is uncovered by the writing of Mary Douglas as she expresses that “dirt is essentially disorder”. (Douglas, 2002:2) This suggests that there is an order that is expected to exist by society for people and places to be deemed clean.

For a wider overview of all the various standards of order of cleanliness, this paper looks at a variety of backgrounds, cultures and religions, to clearly evidence how blatant such standards are towards cleanliness. All of which, eventually impact how the domestic space is treated, as social norms surrounding cleanliness are adopted within the home as well as in public.

Meenu Justin

Daniel Stillwell
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