Pests and home-making: depictions of pests in homemaker magazines

Emma R. Power

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Despite their ubiquity and significant impact within the house-as-home, pests have largely been absent from discussions of home-making. This article addresses this absence by drawing on depictions of pests in four popular Australian homemaker magazines - Australian Women's Weekly, Australian House & Garden and Australian Home Beautiful in the periods 1951-5, 1971-5, and 2001-5, as well as Better Homes & Gardens 2001-5. In a first analysis of this material, pests appear as nonhuman animals that disrupt people's experiences of home. Border narratives that depict home as an inappropriate abode for pests are significant in these discussions. However, an alternate view of pests emerges through further analysis. In this view, pests become part of home and shape human experiences of the space. Home appears here as an active and dynamic space that is lived in multiple and fractured ways that exceed its intentioned human design. This view acknowledges the more-than-human dimensions of home-making, pointing to home as an imbrication of human and nonhuman actors, including pests, home furnishings, and house structures.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)213-236
    Number of pages24
    JournalHome Cultures
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2007


    • pests
    • home-making
    • nonhuman agency
    • borders
    • homemaker magazines


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