Winter cold in a summer place: perceived norms of seasonal adaptation and cultures of home heating in Australia
This paper argues that those hoping to influence domestic heat management might engage more directly with the perceived cultural geography of seasonal adaptation. It draws on a study from a coastal city in southeast Australia where winters are mild and summers increasingly hot. We begin with recent qualitative studies of how households around the world live with winter cold and what they tell us about the varied cultural features standing in the way of any attempts at encouraging alternative approaches. Then we turn to our own mixed method study involving interviews, domestic warmth diaries and ambient temperature monitoring within respondent homes. Analysis starts with a common respondent belief about how those living in the locality would downplay the discomforts of winter cold because the cultural focus there was squarely on summer. Then the three homes with the most extreme internal temperature regimes are detailed to show how a diversity of domestic warming strategies were rationalised in relation to perceived norms of local winter indifference. This leads to a broader argument about harnessing narratives of apparently local adaptation.