chapter  6
8 Pages

Afterword: Unmarried Households

The forms of domesticity described in The Wedding Present are specific to married households. For example, a hierarchical domestic material culture that allots one of the highest places to wedding presents, preserving these objects as embodiments of family relationships or even as potential inheritances is not, of course, reproduced in homes that do not contain any such gifts. This is not to say that preservation does not occur in other domestic contexts, underpinning the arrangements of homes and securing the survival of objects that have, one way or another, become entwined with the past of that household. The instances of objects outlasting one marriage to become a fixture within another suggest that practices of preservation are not necessarily tied to one version of family life. But I have not presented enough evidence here to make this case. The home as a storehouse can only be taken as a provisional statement about domesticity in general, a way of thinking about it, which could, of course, be proved to be inappropriate, unhelpful or just wrong in contexts other than the married family home.