I must admit, I’ve struggled over the past couple of months in this class in coming to a common ground of thinking of exposition and its ties to material culture. I haven’t found the course particularly easy in terms of digesting the assigned reading and putting concrete meaning to its content. I have, however, become increasingly interested in the course with each new meeting, and have found great value in the content that we have studied. With that value has come a wealth of knowledge of how to look at pieces of writing and apply closer readings to understand their meaning.
The word value can hold many different meanings, and those can vary from person to person, depending on who you ask. What won’t – or shouldn’t – change, though, is the basic idea that value is the importance, worth, or usefulness of something, anything. Whether a physical piece of property, a person, a place, a thing, or even an emotion, all have value. People in today’s society and culture place value in almost everything. So much so that it raises the assumption that if every single thing has value, what is truly important anymore? Are the things that we once held in high esteem as important as they once were. That’s really a question for each person to answer as the answer won’t be the same across the board. It raises great debate in the meaning of value, though.
Material culture studies examines the relationship between people and their things. We know that from what we’ve learned in the course. But, to what extent does this relationship between us and our stuff impact our lives and the value we place on them? In my opinion, it does a great deal. I say that because the materials – that is, what we have – of our life, mean a lot to us. If they hold a special value to us, then that’s all that matters. It doesn’t matter what other’s think. And, moreso, most other’s won’t find value in the same things that I would find value in. And, that’s alright.
One of the many things that I’ll take away from this course is that value abounds in everything, not just what we have, or what is right in front of us, or what we can physically touch. Now knowing how to interpret this better will help me along the way in my own life as I determine what it is that’s really important, and what may not be important. I’m thankful that I’ve been able to learn more about this and look forward to putting it to use in the future as I move forward with a renewed sense of the meaning of value and its place in material culture studies.