The rootless fluidity of globalisation so recently celebrated by many young, educated urbanites feeds a new division between those who want the cosmopolitan city and those who prefer the settled provincial life; between those who think airports are part of daily life and those who go there only for their holidays; those that like the provisional, digital, networked economy and those who want the certainty of living in the same place, with the same people and following the same routines.
Heidegger maintained that modernity makes us feel homeless much of the time. Indeed, one reason large companies are so distrusted is that they seem to relish exactly what we recoil from: being homeless, a ‘citizen of nowhere’, as Theresa May, the new British Prime Minister, recently put it in a speech to the Conservative Party. Corporations manage to get away with paying minimal tax because they can threaten to relocate at the drop of a hat. The jobs on which our homes depend appear to be hostage to people who regard rootlessness as an optimal state. Heidegger’s point is that such tensions can only intensify as modernity accelerates.
— From Nobody is Home by Charles Leadbetter
This article is a good, brief cataloguing of the complaints which have arisen with respect to the changed qualities of ‘home’ in the 21st century.
Recently I was at a talk, and overheard the speaker having a conversation with the host before the lecture. Neither could understand why society was not moving more quickly toward the ‘citizen of nowhere’ future, where robots and software do most of the work, and almost every activity of domestic life is provided as a subscription service. They were regarding this inevitability as nearly utopian — it would have some quirks, but for the most part it amounted to a more efficient (and thus preferable) way to live.