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Williams, Michael Ann. Homeplace: The Social Use and Meaning of the Folk Dwelling in Southwestern North Carolina. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1991.
In Homeplace, Michael Ann Williams offers an important contribution to material culture methodology through her careful listening to the stories and commentary of the people from southwestern North Carolina. Through these personal narratives, fifty informants explain the use and meanings of their dwellings--something objects alone are unable to do. In her examination of the architectural tradition of an eleven county area, Williams compares the structure and spatial uses of three common house types--single pen, double pen, and center passage--to offer insights into social and cultural attitudes about family, privacy, community and change. Williams is clear to stress the limitations of relying on oral history testimony to interpret social and cultural meaning. However, she also argues against interpreting social and symbolic use of folk dwellings solely on the basis of its physical form. In all, Williams proposes a method useful for the study of folk architecture in a true interdisciplinary fashion. [P. Williams]