Titel: At Home with Vibrators: An Analysis of the Material Culture of Sex

The intersection of consumption and citizenship has frequently been studied to assess their position within political and ecological debates, but all too rarely have scholars examined the role of the consumer or citizen in the context of the material culture. What is lacking is an understanding of the role of the object in these interesting times of identity dynamics and lifestyle changes. A detailed examination of how commodities, such as sex toys, are used, lived with and appropriated into everyday life suggests that the material culture of sex within households is subject to careful management and civic virtue. This article draws on the findings of 32 semi-structured interviews with female consumers that provide insights into the ways in which discursive, spatial and temporal aspects of household moralities revolve around vibrators. In analysing four elements of object domestication – appropriation, objectification, incorporation, and conversion – the paper identifies important tensions and social dynamics in which the respondents incorporate and redefine possession of a vibrator according to the household’s values and domestic order. As a whole, the material culture of sex forms a multifaceted process of domestication whereby objects such as vibrators are positioned within the home and the moral order of the household is negotiated. The paper contributes to the theme of “citizenship and consumption” by addressing social, symbolic and material dimensions of consumption. It suggests that the meaning, use, and position of objects within the home are subject to transformation as these former commodities cross the boundaries between the public and the private worlds where different sets of social values, symbolic thresholds, and cosmic order are dominant. This is an important aspect because of its tendency to direct attention to the tensions and social dynamics in which consumers or citizens incorporate and redefine objects in accordance with the household’s moralities

Typ: Angemeldeter Vortrag
Veranstaltung: Midterm Meeting of the ESA Research Network of Sociology of Consumption - Citizenship and Consumption – All-powerful, all-powerless? (Oslo)
Datum: 28.08.2020



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Fakultät für Wirtschaftswissenschaften
Institut für Soziologie
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9020 Klagenfurt am Wörthersee
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AT - 9020  Klagenfurt am Wörthersee


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