Other sociologists have also studied scrapbooking. I wanted to take a post to discuss the following quote from Goodsell and Seiter (2010:4-5). They argue:
[t]here are multiple layers of reality [in a scrapbook]: what happened, the pictures of what happened, the narrative constructed through the selection of pictures and other materials for inclusion in the scrapbook, the scrapbooker who makes these decisions about what is to be included and how it is to be displayed and narrated, and the various, potential audiences of the scrapbook.
Broken down, Goodsell and Seiter identify at least five layers of a scrapbook:
- What happened
- The pictures of what happened
- The narrative constructed through the selection of pictures and other materials for inclusion in the scrapbook
- The scrapbooker who makes these decisions about what is to be included and how it is to be displayed and narrated
- The various, potential audiences of the scrapbook
It is therefore difficult to fully understand the narrative of a scrapbook without also understanding the motives of the scrapbook creator and who is the intended audience. Moreover, while photographs motivate the creation of many scrapbook pages, what motivated the photographs being taken in the first place? What wasn’t photographed? While there are subcultures among scrapbookers that place story above photographs, there are also many scrapbooker who focus on the photographs first. The photographs drive the stories that are recorded. Therefore, to more fully understand the story of a scrapbook, one has to start before photographs are even taken.
Ultimately, scrapbookers are deciding what stories are scrapworthy and what is not. This perception of what is worth scrapbooking is shaped by one’s membership in the scrapbooking thought community and what sorts of scrapbooking subcultures one belongs.
Goodsell, Todd L. and Liann Seiter. 2010. “Scrapbooking: Family Capital and the Construction of Family Discourse.” Bringham Young University.