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What does home mean to us?

45 minutes
First broadcast:
Saturday 07 January 2012

How have globalisation and technology changed what home means for us?

With a record one billion people worldwide now on the move, the poet Ruth Padel suggests that in many ways, home is not a stable concept, instead it is something people are always searching for.

Urban housing and poverty specialist Dr Sunil Kumar looks at how a vision of 21st Century cities without slums has created a difficult balance between home and the workplace for people in the developing world.

And digital anthropologist Stefana Broadbent explores how technology has transformed our homes, leading us to retreat back into the home for our play.

Illustration by Emily Kasriel: Our journey and our devices are our home.


3 items
  • Ruth Padel

    Ruth Padel

    Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and of the Zoological society in London, Ruth Padel is also great great granddaughter to Charles Darwin and an active conservationist. Her latest poetry and prose collection is The Mara Crossing on migration and immigration, animal and human, and the journey to find a home.

    The Mara Crossing
  • Sunil Kumar

    Sunil Kumar

    Sunil Kumar teaches social policy, urbanisation and development at the London School of Economics. Sunil was born in Chennai in India and has personal experience of many of the issues he researches and teaches. His current research is on the trade-offs between housing relocation and livelihoods in Chennai.

  • Stefana Broadbent

    Stefana Broadbent

    Stefana Broadbent is a social scientist who studies peoples' use of digital technology at home and at work. She is currently Fellow in the Department of Anthropology at University College, London. She suggests the way people now interact through technology means the home can now exist on many different levels: if we are migrants for instance, technology can bring back the home we left behind.


    Ruth Padel wants to transform all domestic cats into nightingales. Cats kill millions of songbirds a year; what gives us the right to enhance our homes with a predator that destroys wild things for fun? If cats became nightingales, our lives would be enhanced by their music.

  • In Next Week’s Programme

    Freedom of Expression. Celebrated political writer Timothy Garton Ash outlines his initiative for universal principles of free speech, the American pianist Jonathan Biss on the fierce independence of Beethoven’s music, and Professor of Middle Eastern Politics Fawas Gerges examines the role of freedom of expression in the Arab Spring, particularly among the previously voiceless Arab youth.


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