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Purchasing The Past: Going, Going, Gone! New England Auctions: Palaces Of Intrigue And Theaters Of Commerce, Martha Kelly Apr 2017

Purchasing The Past: Going, Going, Gone! New England Auctions: Palaces Of Intrigue And Theaters Of Commerce, Martha Kelly

Senior Theses and Projects

Abstract

My thesis presents evidence that auctions are innately socially- constructed places where diverse actors and unique objects are brought together in a transformative theatre of commerce. Commodities offered can carry with them elements of social turmoil and expose intimacies when exchanged. In this culturally-constructed, social-economic landscape, animate participants in the social arena of an auction parallel the inanimate commodities to be exchanged, as commodities are also “thoroughly socialized thing[s]” with biographies and social implications of their own (Appadurai 1986, 6). Patterns of on-again, off-again commoditization of certain goods are part and parcel of the social construction of their ...