The Familiar and Unfamiliar: An Examination of Home and Anxiety

Barry, Joshua
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
University of Guelph

This thesis investigates the phenomenon of being "at home" and considers anxiety's relation to it. While the project first correlates being "at home" to having familiarity with the world, it then explores the absence of this familiarity in the experience of anxiety, a phenomenon Martin Heidegger argues is one of being "not-at-home." By addressing the "not-at-home" of anxiety, the project determines the malleability inherent to one's home by analyzing anxiety's capacity to render one's homelike familiarity with the world insignificant, something which is shown to reveal the primacy of home's elasticity over its rigidity. The thesis concludes by investigating Merleau-Ponty's account of the body, and shows how one's body can engage with the malleability of home through its habitual contact made with the world. This engagement is shown, finally, to have repercussions for one's agency and identity: that the home created determines what one can do, and who one is.

Home, Anxiety, Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Phenomenology, Existentialism