Heirlooms, nikes and bribes: Towards a sociology of things

Authors
Citation
A. Komter, Heirlooms, nikes and bribes: Towards a sociology of things, SOCIOLOGY, 35(1), 2001, pp. 59-75
Citations number
33
Language
INGLESE
art.tipo
Article
Categorie Soggetti
Sociology & Antropology
Journal title
SOCIOLOGY-THE JOURNAL OF THE BRITISH SOCIOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION
ISSN journal
0038-0385 → ACNP
Volume
35
Issue
1
Year of publication
2001
Pages
59 - 75
Database
ISI
SICI code
0038-0385(200102)35:1<59:HNABTA>2.0.ZU;2-V
Abstract
How do things come to embody meaning! In much anthropological and sociologi cal writings, things have mainly been considered in two ways: either as com modities or as gifts. Correspondingly, people's relationships to things and to other people seem to fall in two broad categories, often regarded as mu tually exclusive: either as impersonal, economic or market relationships wi th strangers, or as personal gift relationships with intimates, friends or relatives. The 'social life of things: however, is more varied. Drawing on Alan Page Fiske's theory of the four fundamental models of human relationsh ip, four ways in which people may relate to each other and to things are di stinguished; these models are applied to empirical data from a study on the giving of gifts in the Netherlands. Complications may occur when the parti es to the transaction do not share the same frame of mind with respect to e ach other and to the things that are being transferred. Things may have con flicting social lives.