Hege Høyer Leivestad
Hege Høyer Leivestad

A dwelling for mobile and stigmatised groups in society, a temporary shelter for the homeless and a potent symbol of working-class leisure – the caravan has gained an ambiguous position in the public imaginary of Western Europe. But it has also become an attractive solution for people who wish to leave their houses or apartments to seek the ‘good life’ elsewhere.

In this thesis, the author gets behind the caravan door to find out how daily life is organised among British and Swedish citizens who have relocated to campsites on a seasonal or full-time basis. What motivations lie behind the choice of downsizing to a caravan? How do the caravan and the campsite both come to fit and to challenge conventional domestic ideals? And, in what sense does the potential mobility of the caravan nurture ideas of ‘freedom’ even when it is standing still?

This thesis closely examines the shaping of the European camping phenomena and contemporary practices of campsite living: from downsizing, travelling and the making of friendships, to building, decorating, care and social control. Through its understanding of the mobile dwelling it revisits current issues of mobility, materiality and community formation.

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