Each Wednesday, I write a post from my dissertation.
Though scrapbooking structures many scrapbooker’s lives, it does not structure the lives of all people who scrapbook. Most of my respondents consider themselves to be scrapbookers and I refer to all of them as scrapbookers in my research. Not all people who scrapbook, however, are scrapbookers. At least one of my respondents does not consider himself to be a scrapbooker and said as much. Future researchers need to carefully recruit people who scrapbook or have had scrapbooked rather than focusing solely on scrapbookers—that is, people who identify as a scrapbooker. Moreover, more research needs to be done regarding how one comes to identify as a scrapbooker and what this identity fully entails.
Even for those scrapbookers whose lives are the most structured by scrapbooking, “the world does not center solely around leisure” (Kelly 1992:250; see also Kelly 1983). Scrapbooking, like other leisure activities, is contextual and relational. This is most clearly seen when one examines how people combine scrapbooking with other tasks such as scrapbooking while spending time with friends or family. It is naïve to think that the scrapbooking is a bigger priority over the other task that is accomplished at the same time. Both may be equally important or their importance may shift.
People become scrapbookers because they want to organize their photographs, they have been introduced to the hobby by a friend or family member, or they have experienced an important milestone or transition in their life (e.g., parenthood, marriage, or retirement). Scrapbooking is increasingly becoming the [aspirational] norm for how photographs are organized—though many people keep their photographs on memory cards, computers, mobile phones, shoe boxes, dresser drawers, blogs, social networking sites, and conventional photograph albums. According to one industry worker, “people kind of think they’re doing something wrong if they’re not” scrapbooking their photographs. Not only is scrapbooking a way to organize photographs, but it is also a way to organize memorabilia.
Industry workers are in agreement that scrapbooking has become more popular because it is more accessible to people than it once was when it was not an industry. Moreover, the industry has grown so that there are multiple ways to scrapbook. There is something for everyone. A couple of respondents had been introduced to scrapbooking through an Inspired Stories [pseudonym] party but did not like the look of that scrapbooking style. It was not until years later when they learned there were other ways to scrapbook that they became scrapbookers.
Do you identify as a scrapbooker? Why? Comment below or join the conversation on facebook or twitter.Boston, MA: George Allen & Unwin.
Kelly, John R. 1992. “Counterpoints in the Sociology of Leisure.” Leisure Science 14(3):247-53.
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