The emergence of the kitchen as an object for conspicuous consumption
Mahmud, Syed Shahid
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The meaning of kitchen has changed overtime. Kitchen was perceived as a factory where food was produced for the consumption of the dwellers of the house and has more recently become a space for leisure and living (Hand & Shove, 2004), gaining the status of the “symbolic heart” of the house (Meah, 2016). Along with the change in its meaning, the kitchen has also become part of the public space of the house. The kitchen’s becoming part of the public space in the house has been an evolving process overtime where other factors also contribute in the integration of the kitchen into the public space. One of these factors is the response of the market to an occurring social change. One of the major changes that have taken place in social demographics is the increase of women into work force and emergence of time scarcity (Jabs & Devine, 2006). The market has responded to this by introducing convenience food and kitchen appliances which make the cooking process more efficient and quicker (Jackson & Viehoff, 2016). As kitchen has become part of the public space of the house the products available for kitchen have increased in variety. People consume certain goods for not only their functionality but also for their symbolic meaning to show to their environment. Such consumption is known as conspicuous consumption (Veblen, 1899). So far literature has explored conspicuous consumption over a product which already has a symbolic meaning. In this research instead of looking at a given product or an object, I trace the role of the kitchen becoming conspicuous from being inconspicuous or a hidden place in the house to make it an object for conspicuous consumption. In order to do this research my context is Turkey, I take the new middle class of Turkey to trace the changes in the kitchen. I have collected data from Hürriyet Real Estate, Mimarlik Magazine and YDA Construction. The data collected from these sources was analyzed through visual content analysis. I present my argument how we can look at the kitchen as an object for conspicuous consumption.