26 Pages

Introduction Making Homes and Worlds: Marriage and Consumption from 1945 to Today

The meanings of objects can appear both fixed and changeable. These two oppositional characteristics are assigned to objects by anthropologists in some of the most influential writings on material culture, works that have shaped the way objects are viewed in art history, cultural studies, design history and sociology. This chapter examines the processes of change in the material culture of domestic life. Within the domestic sphere, wedding presents are the objects that are least likely to be subject to change; because they are gifts there is an expectation that they should be respected and retained. The chapter shows how change might occur in domestic domains some space is taken up with a discussion of memory and the production of testimony. It explores how the shifts, alterations and amendments to domestic collections occur, and concerns how such changes are recorded. The chapter discusses both the gradual alterations and the dramatic disruptions of everyday life.