Controlled Alienation: Airbnb and the Future of Home (under contract with Duke University Press)

My second project is an ethnography of Airbnb. It extends my interest in infrastructure and sociality by investigating how Airbnb is transforming the relationship between aethetics, subjectivity, real estate, and work in Athens, Greece. The book’s primary ethnographic site is the Greek capital, where a “gold rush” toward Airbnb is generating novel approaches to design, infrastructures, property and work as it enlists people into new relationships with their homes and with those of others.  Controlled Alienation examines the ways in which Airbnb as a “soft” infrastructure that takes the form of a digital platform transforms “hard” infrastructures such as homes and the technologies they house (e.g. air conditioners) and, consequently, how humans experience the world and themselves. It considers how what we might think of as an “infrastructural dialectic” between hard and soft infrastructures is affecting landed property, the foundation of modern Greek society, as well as the aesthetics and practices of managing it (e.g. “decluttering”). My goal is to understand the joint world-making of digital media, home architectures, and austerity in a localized context. 

A full-wall real estate advertisement located in the passport security area at Athens airport. Photograph by Sophia Stamatopoulou-Robbins, 21 December 2019.

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