Border-processes and homemaking: Encounters with possums in suburban Australian homes

Emma R. Power*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Citations (Scopus)


Ruptures in borders that materially and conceptually separate western homes from nature, nonhumans and the outside have been conceptualized as disrupting and destabilizing home, and provoking a sense of anxiety in homemakers. This paper argues that border ruptures can also contribute to feelings of homeyness at a number of scales. Everyday experiences of border-making and rupture at home are explored through the accounts of 24 residents of suburban Sydney who have lived with uninvited brushtail possums in the wall and ceiling cavities of their homes. Human residents primarily encountered possums through sound and smell-scapes that permeated homes' immediate physical borders. These events at times unsettled home's human residents, but also simultaneously contributed to residents' feelings of belonging within home, the urban environment and the nation. The paper particularly attends to the role of nonhuman agency in processes of border-making and rupture at home, focusing on the activity of brushtail possums as well as the role that less evidently active structures like walls and ceilings play in mediating human-possum interactions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-54
Number of pages26
JournalCultural Geographies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Border processes
  • Brushtail possums
  • Homemaking
  • More-than-human agency
  • Nativeness


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