My mum's throne room

Date of publication: June 15, 2013

Author: Dave McCaughan

Abstract:

If you asked a group of mothers what they would miss most from their home if it all disappeared would you really expect them to say the toilet? We did that excercise in a few South East Asian cities among the new urban classes and despite their owning TVs and refrigerators, and maybe computers and certainly cellphones, the number one answer they said defined their home as modern was the western-style, sit-down flushing toilet. What makes us modern? What really changes our lives? What is it we cannot be deprived of? Through an exploration of the toilet and its significance and meaning to 'modern' lives, we open a discussion about the role of objective, ethnographic and secondary research as the key to what drives people pushing us to rethink what technology means and matters.

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