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The outward gaze and the inward gaze : houses of Italian and Chinese migrants in Melbourne
conference contributionposted on 2011-01-01, 00:00 authored by I Levin
Not much has been said on the role of the architectural form of housing in the process of migrants’ settlement in the literature. This paper looks at this question through an exploration of the ‘outward gaze’ against the ‘inward gaze’. The outward gaze allows the investigation of exteriors of houses - assumed to be of Italian migrants - by looking at them only from the street, while the ‘inward gaze’ allows the investigation of the interiors of the house as well. In addition to housing exteriors explored in the streets of Melbourne, one Chinese migrant house was examined first through the outward gaze, as seen from the outside of the house by passer-bys, and then by the inward gaze, as seen only by household members and their guests. It is argued that ethnic representations described in the literature are only the visible side of the story, and that there is a lot more that is hidden from the public eye that can be exposed only by the inward gaze. Nevertheless, these unseen representations are vital to the settlement process and are often crucial to its success.