Every other Wednesday, I write a post from my dissertation.
In addition to doing family in terms of building family habitus, scrapbooks serve as a means of communication for a family.
For scrapbookers with family they see infrequently, the scrapbook serves as a tool to communicate what has happened to the scrapbooker since they last saw each other. The scrapbook allows others to catch up on what has been happening in one’s life. This is the same reason why some scrapbookers have started blogging, scrapbooking digitally (making scrapbooks which can be emailed or posted to their blog or a social networking site), or both. Though non-family members are occasionally the audience for scrapbooks, family is the primary audience.
Scrapbooks can also help family members understand their children’s behavior. For example, one respondent made a scrapbook about her tattoos. Her mom viewed the book and finally understood why her daughter got each of her tattoos.
The message communicated is not always positive, but may be intended to change another family member’s behavior. One respondent made a scrapbook for her sister and purposefully selected photos of her sister from when she was thinner as a way to pressure her to lose weight. Her sister did not lose the weight and has since passed but the weight gain was clearly distressing for this respondent.
Other scrapbookers choose not to share their scrapbooks with family members at all. For instance, one lesbian respondent does not share her scrapbook with her father because “he is not super comfortable with the gay thing and my scrapbook is very gay,” as she includes pages about gay pride events and same-sex weddings she has attended in her scrapbook.
Do you use scrapbooks as a way to communicate with family? How? Join the conversation below.
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