“When we got divorced, I left all my things behind” - Sciences Po Access content directly
Conference Papers Year : 2021

“When we got divorced, I left all my things behind”


Social science research suggests that in our current affluent society, most individuals are accustomed to replacing their objects rather than keeping them at all costs. However, in this society, some individuals still try to keep their objects for a long time. How do they come to be concerned about products’ lifespan? The literature has proposed a whole series of explanatory factors, mainly in terms of resources (psychological, economic, social), but has never used a diachronic approach that takes into account the evolution of individual practices in the life course. In this paper, analyzing interviews conducted with sixty individuals seeking to make their objects last, I adopt a biographical approach to understand two things. First, I study how the practice of extending the life span of objects takes root: I show that the tendency to keep objects for a long time can come from the familial milieu, just as it can happen later, in connection with significant experiences with objects, with the reception of messages disseminated by the media and/or with personal events. Then, I wonder how biographical events affects products’ career in the households. I focus no longer on the general relationship of the individual to objects' lifespan, but on the career of the objects themselves. I emphasize that professional, residential, family or more global events (such as the COVID-19 crisis), which punctuate the life course of individuals, determine the fate of objects in the home.


No file

Dates and versions

hal-03585241 , version 1 (23-02-2022)



Julie Madon. “When we got divorced, I left all my things behind”: How the lifespan of household goods is linked to the biographical trajectory of their owners. 4th Conference on Product Lifetimes and the Environment (PLATE), May 2021, University of Limerick, Ireland. pp.online - online. ⟨hal-03585241⟩
29 View
0 Download


Gmail Mastodon Facebook X LinkedIn More