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'Waiting to reach this lull when the sadness has become slightly less desperate' - Dealing with material a/effects: distancing memories and emotion in self-storage

Owen, Jennifer 2018. 'Waiting to reach this lull when the sadness has become slightly less desperate' - Dealing with material a/effects: distancing memories and emotion in self-storage. Presented at: The Senses and Spaces of Death, Dying and Remembering: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives, Leeds, UK, 27-28 Mar 2018.

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Abstract

This paper draws upon research undertaken in order to understand the role of self-storage in the lives (and deaths) of those who use it. For many renting self-storage is a temporary solution at a time of stress and/or transformation in their lives, including family bereavement. This paper will demonstrate how self-storage affects practices of mourning and remembrance, in particular by distancing and delaying engagement with memories and emotions during the process of divesting personal and household effects of the deceased. In a similar way to avoiding places because of their associations with lost loved ones (Maddrell 2016), self-storage acts as a space to safely store triggering possessions away from the place/moment/relations of bereavement. This paper shows how putting ‘evocative objects’ in storage spaces out of sight and out of mind allows them to be re-encountered in a new context, often at a later date and under less desperate terms. Spatial, emotional and temporal distance acts to change the relationship felt towards objects and can make their sorting, passing on and disposal easier. By drawing on the experiences of four self-storage users, this paper argues that the self-storage unit is a place of reconciliation: a space to mourn, remember, and eventually move on.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
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Last Modified: 07 Nov 2019 09:01
URI: http://orca-mwe.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/110547

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