I won't even pretend to have read it yet but having looked at two posts about Danny Miller's Book The Comfort of Things, I'll be picking up a copy as soon as I can. In the meantime, two quotes, lifted without guilt, from the book, as excerpted, first by Joe Moran [author of the wonderful Queuing for Beginners]
I have studied the community of a street because it isn’t a community. I studied a street because it represents no person and no group, or at least none in particular … I didn’t want some sink council estate that stood for poverty, or some mansions that stood for wealth. I didn’t want a black area or a white area. I wanted a “whatever” area … we live the discourse of the street, the fantasy of community, of neighbourhood, of history, of local identity, of street festivals, street complaints, street parking … Soon after we began a major crime occurred at one end of the street, one that involved a celebrity and reached the newspapers. Yet it never travelled as gossip to the other end of the street. Some community!
The second quote is lifted from Russell Davies' short, but highly positive post on the book.
"We live today in a world of ever more stuff – what sometimes seems a deluge of goods and shopping. We tend to assume that this has two results: that we are more superficial and more materialistic, our relationship to things coming at the expense of our relationships to people. We make such assumptions, we speak in cliches, but we have rarely tried to put these assumptions to the test. By the time you finish this book you will discover that, in many ways, the opposite is true; that possessions often remain profound and usually the closer our relationships are with objects, the closer our relationships are with people."