From value to desirability: the allure of worldly things

Harris, S. (2017) From value to desirability: the allure of worldly things. World Archaeology, 49(5), pp. 681-699. (doi: 10.1080/00438243.2017.1413416)

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In this paper, the author takes the approach that value is a judgment that people make about things based on desire, and the potential of the effects those things engender. On this basis, she argues that there are five principle ways that people desire objects: through material properties; in expense and exclusivity; as materials with conspicuous, sensory appeal; through object biography; and where objects can be substituted one for another, an attribute known as fungibility. These principles provide a multiple perspective through which to investigate why and how people desire things. This approach to value is explored through a case study of the desirability of textiles during the emergence of the early urban centres in central and northern Italy (900–500 BC) within its wider geographical setting. Addressing desirability, rather than fixed concepts of luxury, wealth or prestige, opens up questions as to how and why materials and objects are valued across social matrices and according to changing ambitions during the life course.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This work was supported by the European Research Council under the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme [FP/2007-2013-312603]; SYNTHESYS [AT-TAF-4736‘The Representation of Clothing on I].
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Harris, Dr Susanna
Authors: Harris, S.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > Archaeology
Journal Name:World Archaeology
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN (Online):1470-1375
Published Online:15 January 2018
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 The Author
First Published:First published in World Archaeology 49(5):681-699
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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