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Practices of object maintenance and repair : how consumers attend to consumer objects within the home.

Gregson, N. and Metcalfe, A. and Crewe, L. (2009) 'Practices of object maintenance and repair : how consumers attend to consumer objects within the home.', Journal of consumer culture., 9 (2). pp. 248-272.

Abstract

This article examines the practices of object maintenance in the home. Drawing on depth ethnographic research with households in north-east England, the article uses three object stories to show that ordinary consumer objects are continually becoming in the course of their lives in the home and that practices of object maintenance are central to this becoming. Located in a field of action and practice, consumer objects are shown to display traces of their consumption.The practices of object maintenance are shown to attempt to arrest these traces, not always successfully. A spectrum of practices of object maintenance is identified, ranging from routine cleaning, wiping and polishing, through quick-fix repair, to the more thorough-going restoration.The object stories show how restorative acts generally rekindle consumer objects; how other forms of repair (the quick-fix mask) are socially problematic, signalling the devaluation of objects; and how the failure of object maintenance can connect to the sabotage of objects.The success or failure of object maintenance is shown to have profound consequences for the social lives of consumer objects. More broadly, the article highlights the importance of consumer competences (and incompetence) with respect to object maintenance, and argues that object maintenance works to integrate consumption, connecting home interiors with acts of acquisition, purchase and ridding.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Competences value materiality, Consumer, Objects, Maintenance/repair, Practices.
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1469540509104376
Publisher statement:This is an electronic version of an article published in Gregson, N. and Metcalfe, A. and Crewe, L. (2009) 'Practices of object maintenance and repair : how consumers attend to consumer objects within the home.', Journal of consumer culture., 9 (2). pp. 248-272. Journal of consumer culture is available online at: http://www.tandfonline.com/openurl?genre=article&issn=1469-5405&volume=9&issue=2&spage=248
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:02 April 2013
Date of first online publication:July 2009
Date first made open access:No date available

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