Arab-American muslims’ home interiors in the US: Meanings, uses and communication

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The role of tradition and the attachment to homeland culture remain prerequisites that guide the development of the interior home environment of Arab-American Muslims in the United States. Space appropriation and the use of artifacts illustrate the rooted sensory need to reaffirm the attachment to the homeland’s social and cultural values; additionally, these trends symbolize the enduring values of the group and render the home interior a place apart. This paper explores the role of tradition and its influence in shaping the home interior’s physical environment, identifies the meanings associated with the resulting composition, and examines the consequences of adaptation to the host environment. This qualitative investigation used a grounded theory of two Arab-American Muslim immigrant settlements in Chicago, Illinois and Dearborn, Michigan. The sample consisted of 20 household heads living in two-parent families. The heterogeneity of the Arab-Muslim immigrants necessitated the use of purposeful sampling. Focus groups, interviews, and participant observation constituted the different forms of data collection. Data were analyzed using open coding (Strauss & Corbin, 1990). Findings indicated and confirmed that cultural forces remain a pivotal role in influencing the design of the home interior. More importantly, it was found that despite the attachment to traditional values, a growing indifference to homeland ideals can be sensed as the household undergoes generational, social, and cultural metamorphosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Interior Design
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2006


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts

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