'It's Not Forever': The Material Culture of Hope


Parrott, FR; (2005) 'It's Not Forever': The Material Culture of Hope. Journal of Material Culture, 10 (3). pp. 245-262. ISSN 1359-1835

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Abstract

This article explores the way patients in a medium secure psychiatric unit relate to the institution through the decoration of bedrooms and self-decoration through clothing and accessories. The ethnography reveals that a refusal to decorate can be contrasted with an extreme concentration upon clothing and style. These two material genres are compared in terms of the potential ease with which they lend themselves to different forms of objectification, the values, uses or discourses which are constituted and developed through these acts of objectification and the constraints on the ability of agents to express them. The evidence suggests that patients continue to conceive of themselves primarily in terms of another potential life outside the institution, attempting to ‘live within’ material cultures that orientate them towards the future and to external relationships.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Britain, clothing, decoration, psychiatry, medium secure unit, material culture, possessions, loss
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Infectious Disease Epidemiology
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/4754

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