The Three Dimensions of Fresh Air

Fresh_AirThe Journal of Material Culture  is “concerned with the relationship between artefacts and social relations irrespective of time and place”. And, as part of this remit, the June 2013 issue of features one of the few academic studies of ‘Fresh Air’. ‘The air from outside: Getting to know the world through air practices’.

“The article begins by showing air as an integrative practice with three dimensions: functional, bodily/sensory and social. It is shown how knowledge of the environment is constructed in the process of ‘practising’ air, how this knowledge is transferred into a sense of being-in-the-world and how emotions are part of this becoming.”

Non-subscribers can download the article for US$25.00. But considerable background on Fresh Air studies can be read free-of-charge via the Dept. of Sociology at Copenhagen University. Where author Bettina Hauge, MSc (anthropology), PhD, post.doc. provides a copy of a similarly-entitled article : ‘The Significance of Fresh Air from Outside: Getting to know the World through Air’.

“This qualitative study focus on the immaterial, sensuous and invisible phenomenon: Fresh air from the outside and into the home („FAFOH‟), and the practices involved with this – what people do with air.”

The author’s FAFOH approach showed that :

“„Fresh air from outside‟ has been found to be much more than „fresh‟ or „air‟, it has its own sociality that goes beyond the technical understanding of fresh air. Fresh air is a profound link to our experience of being and feeling alive as a human being.”

Also available:

• French Fresh Air  (2010)

• English and Scottish Fresh Air (2010)

QUESTION : The studies revealed an unusual detail regarding possible gender-based differences in letting-in or keeping-out Fresh Air (or letting-out or keeping-in Stale Air).

“It seems like the FAFOH field has ‘Openers’ (mostly women) and ‘Closers’ (mostly men).”

This appears to be an as-yet-underexplained phenomenon. Readers’ hypotheses are welcome (as always).