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Ageing in Everyday LifeMaterialities and Embodiments$
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Stephen Katz

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781447335917

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447335917.001.0001

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Things and possessions

Things and possessions

(p.29) Two Things and possessions
Ageing in Everyday Life

David J. Ekerdt

Policy Press

Researchers commonly chart the life course as a progression of intangibles, yet the life course also has an important material basis: it is enacted and embodied with things and sometimes in the service of things, possessions in particular. A material convoy of possessions accompanies social actors from cradle to grave, and the materiality of these things necessitates labour on their behalf. In later life, the convoy has added characteristics: it is an accumulation of things that have endured and are perhaps more “sticky”; it is more challenging to accommodate; and its eventual disposition becomes a shared, social concern. The standard view, which is difficult to doubt, is that possessions cohere around a person or household and these persons’ subjectivity gives meaning to the objects. At the same time, it is possible to maintain that things have a ‘material agency’ that shapes older adults’ behavior in ways unintended by human subjectivity.

Keywords:   consumption, divestment, life course, possessions

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