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Re-dwelling and urban domesticity: Making place through secondhand things

Conference contribution
Authors Anna Bohlin
Published in 13th SIEF Congress, Göttingen, Ways of Dwelling: Crisis, Craft, Creativity
Publication year 2017
Published at School of Global Studies, Social Anthropology
Language en
Keywords urban dwelling, place-making, secondhand, reuse, commodities, heritage
Subject categories Social Anthropology, Cultural Studies, Other Humanities not elsewhere specified


This paper, based on anthropological fieldwork among Swedish urban middle-class households, focuses on the role of second-hand objects in domestic place-making activities. It argues that items acquired from second-hand markets have affordances that make them particularly attractive for the creation of urban middle-class homes, and form part of an assembled environment that enables a sensory and embodied experience of belonging and historical connection. The paper also discusses how their dual nature, retaining aspects of both gifts and commodities as these categories have been theorised, requires particular strategies to handle the intrusion of the commodity dimensions into the domestic sphere.

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