Material culture and the living room: The appropriation and use of goods in everyday life

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This article draws on findings of qualitative research that considers the importance and meanings people attach to domestic decoration and surroundings via an exploration of the material culture of living rooms. In attending to issues and debates concerning everyday consumption practices within the domestic sphere, the following discussion suggests an approach that firmly places an understanding on how 'goods' and 'things' are used, lived with and appropriated into everyday life. Drawing on in-depth interviews carried out in the homes of 50 respondents in Greater Manchester, UK, the article develops and complements existing ideas and research in cultural anthropology, consumer studies and, more recently, sociology of consumption, which focus on understanding aspects of the complex relationships that exist between subjects and objects, and how these operate within the boundaries of ordinary, mundane and routine consumption practices. It will be shown that one aspect of this relationship relates to the ways in which 'things' act as the embodiment of meaningful social relations and significant connections between family members, friends and even wider social networks, and offers one way of understanding material culture consumption within the home. This is explored via three observed processes of display, acquisition and appropriation within the home: gift objects as familial obligation; objects as markers of memory; and the commemorative potential of objects. Copyright © 2007 SAGE Publications.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)355-377
    Number of pages22
    JournalJournal of Consumer Culture
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2007


    • Appropriation
    • Consumption
    • Display
    • Home
    • Social relationships


    Dive into the research topics of 'Material culture and the living room: The appropriation and use of goods in everyday life'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this