Boundary Play and Scrapworthiness

Scrapbookers may play with boundaries through scrapbooking.

Nippert-Eng (2005:304) argues that two conditions must be met in order for boundary play to occur:

First, players must possess a shared, normative expectation for where one draws the line between two semiotically related, categorical (classificatory) boundaries. Second, players must then decide that they do, in fact, wish to use that boundary as the source or focal point of their amusement.

Boundary play can most clearly be seen by how scrapbookers push the limits of scrapworthiness. For example, a respondent talks about how she knows of other scrapbookers who make pages about their young child’s mischief. The child dumps the contents of a bathroom drawer into the toilet. The child is punished in some way, but mom takes a photograph of the child and the mess. The scrapbook page most likely does not detail any punishment but serves as a reminder of the mess that is made and perhaps that innocent look on the child’s face when caught. In this way, a negative event becomes reframed as a positive event. This particular respondent is unsure what parenting message this sends to a child, but recognizes that sometimes parents have to reframe their child’s behavior in order to keep their sanity. The scrapbooker plays with the boundaries between discouraging unacceptable behavior while at the same time wanting to capture the moment to remember in the future.

Scrapbookers regularly include moments and things that are unexpected and play with boundaries in a variety of ways.

Have you ever reframed a memory so that it was postive rather than negative or reframed in some other way?


Nippert-Eng, Christena E. 2005. “Boundary Play.” Space and Culture 8(3):302-24.

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