Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Res ipsa loquitur The Material Imagination A Typology of Collectors
by Stewart, Joan Elizabeth Seifried, Ph.D., Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2015, 415; 3688582
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation sets forth a typology of contemporary collectors of objects of material culture. This study characterizes four types of collectors, identified by separate and unique abilities of inner and outward perception, which resonates in their collections as praxis.

This typology also analyses the degree of both conscious and unconscious meaning in the collection, which, over time and place, becomes a self-referential composition. The meaning of objects as perceived and handled relates to the collector's level of consciousness of this epistemological function. The form or kind of the object, although significant, is not the basis for this ontological study as much as the method of each type of collector in the handling of their collections.

The latent or manifest drive towards degrees of coherence or completion lies in the collection, a visual, relational structure created by the collector. This structure may result in conscious enquiry, realization, and individuation, or may build a material bastion of self-protection, due to unconscious compensation or denial.

The handling of objects is the handling of a personal relationship, as collectors do not simply perceive objects, they perceive with objects, over time, in praxis. This dissertation allows for the great significance of home, within which a collector curates objects.

This dissertation employs a multi-disciplinary and hermeneutical approach as befits each type of collector's idiosyncratic and heterogeneous relationship to lucid materiality. Four types of collectors, the acquirer, the connoisseur, the fetishizer and the hoarder exhibit a neoteric aesthetic of material culture, analyzed individually as types through selected methodologies: the depth psychological perspective, process theory, the mythological approach, and through semiotic structuralism.

This typographical analysis results in the discovery of four unique ways in which collectors create meaning from our material world with approaches to the nature and concept of a "thing."

How a thing becomes visual image, which becomes the structure of a psychic reality fortuitously grasped by a mind and the hand, is a reflection of the importance of objects and of a collector's personal epistemology.

A Production Component, a book called Generosity of Eye: A Seasoned Appraiser Answers Clients' Questions, discusses the evaluation of objects from the perspective of a professional appraiser.

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Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Grillo, Laura
Commitee: Maheu, Gilles Zenon, Paris, Ginette
School: Pacifica Graduate Institute
Department: Mythological Studies
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 76/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Cultural anthropology, Psychology, Aesthetics
Keywords: Collector, Connoisseur, Depth psychology, Fetish, Hoarder, Material culture
Publication Number: 3688582
ISBN: 978-1-321-67275-6
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