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Intimacies, Critical Consumption and Diverse EconomiesThe Hidden Lives of Domestic Things: Accumulations in Cupboards, Lofts, and Shelves

Intimacies, Critical Consumption and Diverse Economies: The Hidden Lives of Domestic Things:... [This chapter seeks to challenge the assumption that the accumulation of things that are not currently in use in domestic spaces is a sign of the ‘throwaway society’ (Cooper, 2010), or a product of frivolous consumers’ constant desire for the new. This assumption entails thinking about things predominantly in terms of use-value and also that consumption is a result of individuals’ choices and preferences. In the current media fascination with clutter — seen in programmes such as Channel 4’s The Hoarder Next Door — things that accumulate in domestic spaces, such as attics and cupboards, spill into whole rooms as a symptom of a psychological disorder. Having an excess of stuff that we do not use is seen as either wasteful or as a sign of an individual with a life that is out of control — an understanding that is mirrored in the multiple professional decluttering services. What is needed is a focus, not upon the extreme behaviour of hoarding that these programmes portray, nor individual consumers who continue to buy new stuff when they have an excess of things at home, but on what has been termed ‘ordinary consumption’ (Gronow and Warde, 2001). That is, the everyday patterns of use and storage of things within the home that is not spectacular but rather how people enact their everyday lives and relationships through things.] http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png

Intimacies, Critical Consumption and Diverse EconomiesThe Hidden Lives of Domestic Things: Accumulations in Cupboards, Lofts, and Shelves

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References (22)

Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan UK
Copyright
© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2015
ISBN
978-1-349-56396-8
Pages
216 –231
DOI
10.1057/9781137429087_11
Publisher site
See Chapter on Publisher Site

Abstract

[This chapter seeks to challenge the assumption that the accumulation of things that are not currently in use in domestic spaces is a sign of the ‘throwaway society’ (Cooper, 2010), or a product of frivolous consumers’ constant desire for the new. This assumption entails thinking about things predominantly in terms of use-value and also that consumption is a result of individuals’ choices and preferences. In the current media fascination with clutter — seen in programmes such as Channel 4’s The Hoarder Next Door — things that accumulate in domestic spaces, such as attics and cupboards, spill into whole rooms as a symptom of a psychological disorder. Having an excess of stuff that we do not use is seen as either wasteful or as a sign of an individual with a life that is out of control — an understanding that is mirrored in the multiple professional decluttering services. What is needed is a focus, not upon the extreme behaviour of hoarding that these programmes portray, nor individual consumers who continue to buy new stuff when they have an excess of things at home, but on what has been termed ‘ordinary consumption’ (Gronow and Warde, 2001). That is, the everyday patterns of use and storage of things within the home that is not spectacular but rather how people enact their everyday lives and relationships through things.]

Published: Dec 19, 2015

Keywords: Material Culture; Actor Network Theory; Practice Theory; Domestic Space; Continue Life

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