Death and the Transformation of Objects and their Value
It is often through conversations about household objects, jewellery or other items that the very subject of death is broached within families. Objects mediate and produce death discourse just as death mediates and produces value and meaning. The movement of objects within, across and between private/personal spaces and relationships, public spaces and relations, and commercial domains and relations is about value transformation. Value is a fluctuating, comparative or relative measure and in the sphere of personal life and spaces objects attain, maintain or transform in both value and meaning through the life course and through events such as death and bereavement. While objects are always on the move in consumer capitalism, bereavement and household disbandment instigate emotionally charged processes of decision-making about what things might mean, their value (and for whom) and where they should go. This paper examines shifting classifications of objects - sacred, profane and abject - in relation to shifting registers of meaning and economies of value. It argues that the same type of object can have quite different, even contradictory, value attributions.
Sociology not elsewhere classified