“I’m only a guardian of these objects”: Vintage traders, curatorial consumption and the meaning(s) of objects

Omar Khaled Abdelrahman, Emma Banister, Daniel Hampson

Research output: Chapter in Book or Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Purpose: Curatorial consumption studies have hitherto focused on the consumption of family heirlooms. By exploring curatorial consumption within the context of vintage outlets, the authors extend its usage to other consumption sites, allowing them to further develop the construct. Design/Methodology/Approach: Participant observation was employed at vintage outlets alongside in-depth interviews with 15 vintage traders incorporating object elicitation. Findings: The authors identify the potential for curatorial consumption to help further develop understanding of individuals’ relationships with their possessions. The authors present a re-contextualization of curatorial consumption, which expands the term beyond caring for family heirlooms, allowing them to incorporate additional contexts. The authors identify vintage traders’ roles as guardians for their merchandise and their sense of responsibility to ensure objects’ circulation to future generations. The authors develop the findings around themes related to curation: acquisition, preservation, and transference. Running through these themes is an overarching concern for historical objects. Originality/Value: While few studies loosely refer to curatorial consumption, the construct remains underdeveloped. The re-contextualization allows to unpack its potential to enhance understanding of individuals’ relationships with their possessions. In contrast to existing curatorial consumption work that emphasizes the sense of continuity with ancestors, the authors extend this to consider how connections with the past can be maintained beyond local family settings.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearch in Consumer Behavior
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing Ltd.
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameResearch in Consumer Behavior
ISSN (Print)0885-2111


  • Curation
  • Curatorial consumption
  • Materiality
  • Object elicitation
  • Preservation
  • Vintage

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