Please see the session and paper abstract below, to be proposed to the American Anthropological Association for their annual meeting in Philadelphia Dec. 2-6, 2009. If you are interested in presenting a paper in this session, please send your name, affiliation, paper title, and abstract (no more than 250 words)by Friday, March 13, 2009 to Angela Orlando (firstname.lastname@example.org). Please email if you have any questions! Thank you.
Household Modern Material Culture: Acquisition, Discard, and Identity
Chair and Organizer: ORLANDO, Angela (UCLA)
Stuff: why do we get it and keep it around, or alternately reject it? Why for some people does household clutter evoke feelings of comfort, while other families keep their homes sparsely decorated because objects impede their clarity? Is class membership reducible to the presence or absence of a snow globe collection over the mantle, to our framed opera tickets, or to our Lakers game memorabilia tacked to our faux wood-paneled bedroom walls? And if objects have semiotic characteristics, to whom do household objects communicate?
Our relationships to household material culture reflect our individual and familial identities, and objects have distinct meaning for the denizens of a house. This panel explores the connections between household material culture life histories (acquisition, maintenance and discard), and familial identity among contemporary people around the world. The aim is to generate both theoretical and methodological discussion about modern objects and peoples, and to explore why we cling to the things we keep, or throw away the objects that no longer fit our model of who we are. Papers in this session are geographically, theoretically and methodologically diverse, employing ethnographic and ethnoarchaeological approaches to modern material culture. Yet each operates on the premise that objects and humans participate in an active dialogue, which shapes and reshapes our intimate, and public, identities.
University of California Los Angeles
Short abstract of my paper for this session:
Decorative Material Culture in Middle-Class Los Angeles Houses
This paper examines the decorative objects in 32 middle-class Los Angeles houses and finds that most study participants do not purchase original art, but consume and display mass-produced prints and posters. Familiesí school-age children are the primary producers of original art found in L.A. houses. How can we extrapolate observations such as these, in order to understand how household displays of art convey information about middle-class membership in urban North America?
Angela Orlando, M.A.
UCLA Anthropology Doctoral Student
Graduate Student Researcher - The Center on Everyday Lives of Families
University of California
318 Haines Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1553
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