Heirloom Jewelry: An Actant of History and Identity

Heirloom Jewelry: An Actant of History and Identity

Heirloom Jewelry: An Actant of History and Identity

Heirloom Jewelry: An Actant of History and Identitys

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Référence bibliographique [20170]

Moore, Allison Cicero. 2016. «Heirloom Jewelry: An Actant of History and Identity». Mémoire de maîtrise, Montréal, Université Concordia, Département d’éducation des arts.

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1. Objectifs

Intentions :
«Heirloom jewelry pieces perform important functions in family networks. Jewelry’s durability allows the potential to frequently outlive its original owner, gain sentimental value over successive generations, and influence relationships. Through the frame of Actor-Network-Theory and using a case study methodology, this study analyzed three participants’ heirloom rings functions in conjunction with their oral accounts of family history. [...] Interviews concentrated on the history of their heirloom ring’s origins, the participant’s view on ownership of a family heirloom, and other relevant family history.» (p. 2)

Questions/Hypothèses :
«How does heirloom jewelry function within family history? […] What narratives does it perpetuate? […] What associations does it strengthen? […] How has the object changed since its creation?» (p. 2)

2. Méthode

Échantillon/Matériau :
«The current research study is a multiple case study, examining three heirloom rings. Each participants’ piece of jewelry and its accompanying history defines a single case. I recruited three participants from an extended network of my acquaintances, each of whom owns an heirloom ring.» (p. 24)

Instruments :
Guide d’entretien semi-directif

Type de traitement des données :
Analyse de contenu

3. Résumé

«Although [the participants’] stories were unique, they shared many commonalities, including the importance of their jewelry serving as a connection to their ancestor. Discussing their jewelry pieces and relevant family history enabled them to view their own values and goals as a continuation of their families’ efforts. Furthermore, their jewelry helped them build their own identity in relation to family dynamics and as an extension of family traditions. Through the frame of Actor-Network-Theory […], heirloom jewelry can be viewed as possessing symmetrical influence to humans in family networks. It supports the tension that maintains family relationships, and can even translate into an active component of family networks. Furthermore, it can leverage family situations, eliciting change in actions and emotions through mediation and moderation. In these roles, jewelry translates from an inanimate, passive instrument into an actant, performing knowledge and dynamically contributing to a network’s structure. The current research showed a small glimpse of heirloom jewelry’s effects on family networks, and reflected a moment in time. […] Beyond the three participants’ experiences, jewelry’s continuing presence as a physical artifact since ancient times and its occurrence in both myth and contemporary narratives attests to its continuing cultural significance.» (p. 49-50)