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Living Well: Why Are We So Attached to Our Stuff?
Wednesday, February 28, 2018, 10:30 AM until 11:30 AM
Environmental Education Center
East Side Recycling Center
2401 Scott Blvd SE
Iowa City, IA 52240
Many of us feel that and “getting rid of” our stuff is an obligation of later life. But after decades of accumulating things, we often find it difficult to part with the objects that have furnished our homes and filled our lives. Though we live in a society that encourages consumption and accumulation, many of us feel shame that we are so attached to our things. In this conversation, Dr. Elana Buch will share an anthropologist’s perspective on the cultural roots of our paradoxical attitudes towards our possessions and begin a discussion about other ways of approaching our relationships with things in later life.
Elana Buch, M.S.W., Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Anthropology Department at the University of Iowa. Dr. Buch received her M.S.W. and Ph.D from the University of Michigan's Joint Program in Social Work and Social Science, was an NIA and Hartford Foundation Geriatric Social Work pre-doctoral fellow, and was a Social Science in Practice postdoctoral fellow at UCLA. Dr. Buch's research areas include sociocultural and medical anthropology, care, aging, and disability. She teaches courses on the Anthropology of Aging, the Anthropology of Caregiving and Health, the Anthropology of the Beginnings and Ends of Life and the Anthropology of Marriage & Family.
Miller, Daniel. 2008. The comfort of things. Cambridge: Polity Press
Miller, Daniel. 2009. Stuff. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Marcoux, Jean-Sebastien. 2001. The ‘Casser Maison’ Ritual: Constructing the Self by Emptying the Home. Journal of Material Culture 6(2) 213-235
Perry, Tam. 2014. Moving as a gift: Relocation in older adulthood. Journal of Aging Studies 31 pp.1-9.
Optional Reading Materials (click on "Membership" to find PDF downloads of the Marcoux and Perry articles)