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Synopsis

Why do mantelpieces matter? As everyday 'focal points', they offer a unique way into understanding how what matters relates to who matters.

Wide-ranging, original, innovative research assembles Mass Observation Archive material with historiographies of family, house and nation from ancient Greece to present-day Europe, China and America. Entwined with insightful ethnography of British domestic and heritage practices, these studies elicit how power works in the small spaces of home. Accompanied by films made with asylum seekers and participants' 'photo-calendars', it is an engaging, effective fusion of different modes of analysis, with imaginative theorising and auto-biographical reflection.

This cutting-edge contribution to current debates on identity unfolds how dominant cultural values not only exclude the dispossessed, but also limit possibilities for future networks of shared hope, loss and vulnerability.


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