Stepping into strangers' homes : exploring the consumption phenomenon of home exchange

Tonner, Andrea and Hamilton, Kathy and Hewer, Paul; (2016) Stepping into strangers' homes : exploring the consumption phenomenon of home exchange. In: Consumer Culture Theory. Research in Consumer Behavior, 18 . Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 29-46. ISBN 978-1-78635-496-9

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Purpose: Our paper is centred on exploring the experiences of opening up closed doors to strangers in the context of home exchange. Methodology/approach: This paper is based on a year-long research project which has drawn on multiple qualitative methods of data collection. A bricolage approach was adopted to enable the authors to gather data which is sensitive to multivocality and conscious of difference within the consumer experience. Findings: Our findings demonstrate that home exchangers treat their home as an asset to be capitalised, to allow them to travel to places and communities otherwise unreachable. Home exchangers simultaneously engage in the symbolic creation of home in a temporary environment and utilise the kinship and community networks of their home exchange partner. Practical implications: Our paper adds depth and insight to the increasing media coverage of the home exchange phenomenon. Social implications: As a consumption practice that is witnessing widespread appeal, home exchange uncovers evidence of trust amongst strangers. While it is common practice to open the home in order to build friendship, it is less common for this invitation to be extended to strangers. Originality/value of paper: We extend the extensive theorisation of the home as a symbolic environment and reveal that the home can also be used in an enterprising fashion.


Tonner, Andrea ORCID logoORCID:, Hamilton, Kathy ORCID logoORCID: and Hewer, Paul ORCID logoORCID:;