‘More, bigger, better’ household appliances: Contesting normativity in practices through emotions

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With electricity-using appliances as the starting point, we seek to uncover the normative authority in the performance of practices among households in Western Switzerland. Through complementary methods, we explore normativity in practices that involve communicating and entertaining, cleaning and tidying up, and storing food and preparing meals. Combined with this approach is an understanding of emotions in practice, which are used as a heuristic device for uncovering how people performing practices feel that they are either aligned with how things ought or should be done, or conversely reveal any tensions in relation to the explicit or implicit normative authority. We see these points of tension as opportunities for change in designing experiments in a bounded space and time where practices can be performed differently – towards disconnecting, washing less, or sharing meal preparation and storage, for example. We conclude with discussions on the importance of enacting ‘deviant’ practices as performances and staging positive emotions, towards finding coherent ways to challenge the normative authority tied up with practices that rely on ‘more, bigger, better’ household appliances.




Sahakian, M. (2022). ‘More, bigger, better’ household appliances: Contesting normativity in practices through emotions. Journal of Consumer Culture, 22(1), 21–39. https://doi.org/10.1177/1469540519889983

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