Attachment to Possessions

  • Russell W. Belk
Part of the Human Behavior and Environment book series (HUBE, volume 12)


While place attachment has received some recent attention in social science literature, such attention reveals the narrow partitions that have been employed in seeking to understand our bonds to the material environment. For bonds to place share much of the same phenomenology as bonds to our children, a favorite sweater, our cars, a pet, the family photograph album, and our own bodies. What such attachments have in common is their importance, for better or worse, in defining the self in a contemporary consumer culture. This linkage was clearly articulated by William James (1890):

Our fame, our children, the works of our hands, may be as dear to us as our bodies are, and arouse the same feelings and the same acts of reprisal if attacked. ... a man’s Self is the sum total of all that he CAN call his, not only his body and his psychic powers, but his clothes, and his house, his wife and children, his ancestors and friends, his reputation and works, his lands, and yacht and bank-account. All these things give him the same emotions. If they wax and prosper, he feels triumphant; if they dwindle and die away, he feels cast down. (p. 291).


Consumer Research Collective Memory Place Attachment Sorting Task Material Environment 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Russell W. Belk
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Marketing, David Eccles School of BusinessUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA

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