To What Extent Do Material Techniques and Objects ‘Mediate’ Attachment in Social Worlds?

Topics: Emotion, Sociology, Attachment theory Pages: 6 (2243 words) Published: April 3, 2012
The universal process of attachment is conducted through out the individuals life cycle. Objects, bodies and things, play a important role in mediating that attachment. But how much do we know about attachment? What it is and how it is constructed. Sociology attempts to answer these questions, by defamiliarising attachment by viewing it through a broader sociological lens. In this essay we will use the 'Sociology of Attachment', in its two orientations, practical mechanism and emotional investment, as an enquiry into the study of social connectedness, to evaluate to what extent objects and material techniques mediate attachment and how other processes of social practice, culturally shared social meanings play an equally important role in mediating attachment, helping to shape the social world. What is attachment? Through a sociological lens, attachment can be referred to a way of connecting ? through material techniques or 'practical mechanisms by which people, and people and objects, get connected to each other,' (Redman, 2008, p6). 'Emotional investment', another orientation of attachment, can in a sense be defined as engaged, have your emotions given, or "invested," towards someone, bringing that thing life with meaning. To understand emotional investment better we have to analyse '...the processes by which people develop emotional investments in other people and other things,' (Redman, 2008, p6).

Social practices, such as gift giving, can allow us to understand the process involved in connecting people to things and how this attachment is maintained. Marcel Mauss (1990, cited in Muniesa, 2008, p119) describes how in some There’s a quote mark here, but no indication of where the quote ends. 'archaic societies gift exchange plays an important role in the economy. The rhythm of cyclical rotation of gifts and the exchange involved, can construct a relationship between the giver and receiver, based on obligation and duty. In these societies there seems to be a cultural obligation of giving, receiving and returning a gift. The practice of giving can create an intimate relationship between the giver and the receiver and at the same time create an obligation of returning, 'the giver shares what he has, or what he is with the receiver...a relationship of superiority because the one who receives the gift and accepts it places himself in debt of the who has given it, thereby becoming indebted to the giver...' Maurice Godelier (1999, cited in Muniesa, 2008, p121). The giver is in some sense 'the embodiment' within the gift and where the receiver becomes indebted to the giver.

But we need to ask ourselves how does attachment become identified with a circulating object in the first place? In similar context to the 'archaic societies', where beliefs are held that gifts are endorsed with spirit of the owner. 'The presence of the giver contained in the gift so that the receiver can recognise, in the object', The quote is incomplete, and doesn’t make sense. (Muniesa, 2008, p122). In contemporary societies the spiritual input is replaced by the personalisation of a gift, the use of symbols like a personal message on a card, can illustrate some form of personal marking of objects, an embodiment of the giver, which can carry sentimental emotions of bonding, which can be seen as an important mediation of attachment. Yes, good point. Earmarking or tagging and personalization of exchanged objects, the self within the gift, helps to mediate attachment. 'Something has been done in order to create some kind of obligation: an obligation that stems from the fact that the person who gives is still present, through earmarking, in the given object,' (Muneisa, 2008, p123). The earmarking or personalisation of a gift, banknote with a personal message, in the form of a letter or card attached, can determine the relation of between the giver and receiver, can create an obligation for the receiver to act with responsibility. Material techniques,...
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