An Entangled Object: The Picture Postcard as Souvenir and Collectible, Exchange and Ritual Communication
by Bjarne Rogan, University of Oslo, Norway
with responses by Stephen Brown, University of Ulster, Jordanstown, Northern Ireland and Virginia-Lee Webb, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
The picture postcard craze went hand in hand with the rise of a new consumer culture, a more affluent society, and a new middle class. Modernity is the common denominator and the frame of reference. However, these cards served a multiplicity of uses and functions including as collectibles, ritual communication, and gift exchanges, and were enmeshed in a tangle of relationships. What characterized the craze for the picture postcard a century ago and guaranteed its enormous spread and popularity was precisely these enmeshed functions, concrete as well as symbolic, and the many layers of meaning invested in the postcard. Few material items are more aptly characterized as "an entangled object" than the picture postcard of the Golden Age.
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PS: from the Editors of Cultural Analysis:
We are pleased to announce the publication of:
CULTURAL ANALYSIS: AN INTERDISCIPLINARY FORUM ON FOLKLORE AND POPULAR CULTURE, VOLUME IV
This issue is now out in full, and available free of charge on the web
(in both html and pdf formats), at: http://socrates.berkeley.edu/~caforum/current.html
Please feel free to share this information with anyone you feel may be interested.