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Title:Crafting Culture: Scrapbooking and the Lives of Women
Author(s):Downs, Heather Ann
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Stevens, Gillian
Department / Program:Sociology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Women's Studies
Abstract:My dissertation examines the process of consumption and how women's relationships with business owners, with other women and with the products that they purchase, enhance commercial activity. Specifically I observe the scrapbooking industry (currently the fastest growing hobby and cottage industry in the United States) and how it utilizes ideologies of family and femininity to engage women's participation in the hobby. Scholars have analyzed women's organizations and businesses, women's relationships, and the meaning of domestic objects, but they have not tied these components into the larger practices of consumption. In my chapter on small business owners, I explore how women experience the contradictory qualities of doing gender publicly, of seamlessly integrating traditional femininity into the business world. This is a site where tradition joins with innovation and women combine their business responsibilities with their own needs under the guise of familial maintenance. In the chapter on the hobbyists, I analyze how important the hobbyists' relationships are with one another in engendering their interest in the hobby. This relationship maintenance is a form of kin work where women use their leisure time to preserve family and friendship networks which in turn supports a commercial industry. The next chapter explores how women negotiate marital power through the financial costs of their hobby. In the chapter on scrapbooks, I examine how the product and women's interpretations of it, sustain enthusiasts' participation in the hobby. Using Bourdieu's theory of family discourse, I explain how the scrapbook presents an idealized version of family life that women are consciously creating through their participation in the hobby. Together these chapters discuss the process of consumption where the individuals and the institution are highly interdependent.
Issue Date:2006
Description:174 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2006.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3242838
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-28
Date Deposited:2006

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