Consumption, ageing and identity: New Zealander's narratives of gifting, ridding and passing on

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Consumption practices involving disposal can provide important insights into how ‘being’ is accumulated. Analysis of 36 semi‐structured interviews with 13 individuals aged 59–70 in the Manawatu, Kapiti, Rangitikei and Horowhenua regions of the North Island in New Zealand illustrates how practices of gifting, ridding and passing on goods as legacy contribute to the production of familial and individual subjectivities. The research revealed that practices of disposal are performative, with both the absent presence of the objects placed away and the practices by which this occurs having agentic effects. The places that objects were assumed to occupy in the real and imagined lives of others and the moving of things away contributed to older adults' identities as caring parents, productive citizens and individuals of significance. Disposal practices consequently enabled participants to stabilise and order parent and child relations and one's relative position in the life course.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Geography Programme, School of People, Environment and Planning, Massey University, PN 331, Private Bag 11 222, Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand

Publication date: December 1, 2012

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