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Making community through the exchange of material objects

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Camilla Lewis


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Classic community studies have identified several ways in which material exchanges lie at the heart of kinship relationships and informal networks of support in working-class communities. This article re-examines some key emergent issues in light of social shifts that have occurred in East Manchester, a locality drastically reshaped by de-industrialization and numerous phases of urban regeneration. The ethnography explores how a group of older women made community in these neighbourhoods, which they perceive to be fragmenting through their extended families and friendship networks. The women continued to engage in strategies to support and care for each other and sustain social ties through the exchange of material objects. The analysis suggests that theories of gift exchange and material culture offer useful resources to reinvigorate community studies literature by identifying the ways in which gifts and objects remain central to sustaining kinship and friendship relationships.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Lewis C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Material Culture

Year: 2018

Volume: 23

Issue: 3

Pages: 295-311

Print publication date: 01/08/2007

Acceptance date: 11/04/2018

ISSN (print): 1359-1835

ISSN (electronic): 1460-3586

Publisher: Sage


DOI: 10.1177/1359183518769088


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