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Reusing Textiles: on Material and Cultural Wear and Tear'

Journal article
Authors Anneli Palmsköld
Published in Culture Unbound. Journal of Current Cultural Research
Volume 7
Issue 1
Pages 31-43
ISSN 2000-1525
Publication year 2015
Published at Department of Conservation
Pages 31-43
Language en
Keywords reusing textiles, material wear and tear, cultural wear and tear, sorting processes
Subject categories Ethnology, Cultural Studies


This article discusses contemporary practices in a Swedish context, connected to clothes and home textiles that are no longer in use, comparing them to reusing practices from the middle of the nineteenth century and onwards. The focus is on how the textiles are objects for different sorting processes in private homes as well as on a flea market, and people’s ethical concerns connected to these pro- cesses. Until the early 1970s the skills of mending, altering and patching was common knowledge, to women at least. The reusing processes were about wear and tear considerations from a material point of view. Today there are many more clothing and home textiles items in circulation, which have to be taken care of. To handle and sort textiles seems, among other things, to be about coping with differ- ent feelings connected with guilt and bad conscience. To avoid these feelings people are seeking ways of letting the textiles circulate in order to be reused by others.

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Utskriftsdatum: 2020-08-10