House/Keeping : Domestic Accumulation, Decluttering, and the Stuff of Kinship in Anthropological Perspective

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Presentation :

Homes tend be depicted as sites of consumption and display, but they are also the locus of a perpetual struggle against unwanted accumulation. Guests often judge the proliferation of clutter as an indication of the moral rectitude of the family, and yet the act of keeping material objects is an essential mode for the transmission of kin relationships and identity. Little anthropological attention has been placed upon the conflicting forces of the need to store family valuables (and values) while simultaneously fighting against the encroachment of clutter and disorder, especially across cultures. Although the relationship between persons and possessions has been an important source of anthropological insight since Mauss' reflections on gift economies such as the kula and potlatch, we hope to turn that rich history of insight towards the social processes surrounding gathering, storing, purging, and recirculating objects with an attention to the influx and outflux of materiality in the home. Problems such as storage and clutter seem present in most societies, and yet they are rarely given a space of prominence in ethnography. In this collection, we hope to draw upon a wide range of ethnographic sources to make the hidden spaces of storage and their role in social relationships visible in new ways. We centralize papers which consider how practices such as storage, stockpiling, hoarding and purging of belongings can be approached anthropologically in order to provide both nuanced ethnographic depth and broader cross-cultural and historical perspective.

  • When ?

Monday 31 May, Tuesday 1 and Wednesday 2 June 2021 from 2PM to 6PM


The program is available HERE

This workshop will be organized online via Zoom, register HERE