Material Possessions and the Identity research

Pechurina, Anna (2010) Material Possessions and the Identity research. [Video] (Unpublished)

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Recording of presentation given at Vital Signs 2 Conference, 7-9 September 2010, University of Manchester
The presentation discusses the ideas surrounding the study of material possessions in the context of every-day personal life. Based on my research on the homes of Russian migrants in the UK, the paper examines the meanings of material possessions and the connection between those meanings and personal identity and culture. Taking the example of Russian migrants’ homes I will focus on the group of objects such as souvenirs and craft, which stereotypically represent Russia. Although these objects can often be seen in Russian homes, it does not indicate that have been chosen to symbolise/manifest Russia. In many instances the owners did not consider these items to be especially important, and often could not remember why they had them, as if they had come into the house ‘by themselves’. Thus, these possessions occupied a “marginal position” in the domestic space since they did not have any functional or personal meaning; their only function was as a term of reference. Some migrants accumulated whole collections of these objects making a home look like an exhibition of a “Russian kitsch”. Although useless, these “culturally impoverished” items were a culturally significant phenomenon. Even recognising the items as useless and tasteless and thinking that they do not really need them, Russians could not bring themselves to throw them away as if there was a sort of underlying cultural obligation.

In my presentation I will explore the relationship between the meanings and the practices around the creation and maintaining of these symbols and obligations.

Item Type: Video
Uncontrolled Keywords: Realities, researching home and memory
Subjects: 4. Qualitative Data Handling and Data Analysis > 4.13 Visual Data Analysis
Depositing User: Realities user
Date Deposited: 22 Dec 2010 11:44
Last Modified: 14 Jul 2021 13:53

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