Each Wednesday, I write a post from my dissertation.
Scrapbooks about others are not necessarily for others. Most respondents plan on passing their scrapbooks onto other family members after their own death. In most cases, the scrapbooks belong to the scrapbooker rather than the family as a unit or the person who was the main subject of the album. Respondents with children discuss when the albums may technically belong to their children (eventually) and mention that major life events, such as marriage, turning 18, or graduating from high school or college, would prompt them to give the scrapbook to the child and even then, the scrapbooker is not sure they will be able to part with the album(s). Respondents discuss giving their children their albums once they reach an age when the child is settled down (i.e., college graduate or married) in an effort to make sure their child is old enough to appreciate the scrapbook.
Ultimately, scrapbooking is for the scrapbooker which is why most respondents had given very little thought to whether or not others would understand the scrapbook or what would eventually happen to their scrapbooks. I was very surprised by this as an industry worker; I had been taught that the importance of using archival materials is so that the scrapbooks will exist for future generations. Though most respondents consider future generations viewing the scrapbooks, they care very little as to whether or not future generations will get the message that the scrapbooker intends. In sum, scrapbooks may be a place to do family and may be about the family, but that does not mean they are for the family instead of the scrapbooker.
Who is scrapbooking for? Is it for you, your family, some combination of the two, or something else entirely? Join the conversation below or on facebook.
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