- Loss and material culture in South London
- Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute
- Volume | Issue number
- 15 | 3
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
This article describes the ways in which people, mainly selected from a single street in South London, utilize material culture in dealing with various experiences of separation and loss, such as death or the ending of a relationship. It starts from a dialectical approach to all relationships as consisting of a tension between idealized and actual categories. It then considers how objects are used to resolve this tension. Two aspects of this process are examined in more detail. The first shows how divestment from objects is used to control and extend the process of separation from persons. The second looks at how objects are used to create an economy of memory and relationships. The article thereby brings older anthropological insights on death and social rupture to bear on individuals within a contemporary metropolitan context.
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