1-2 of 2 Results

  • Keywords: hoarding x
Clear all


Gustav Peebles

The negative connotations of “hoards” has blinded us to their actual ubiquity, bringing to the fore only the most egregious exemplars, such as dusty piles of gold or junk. Whether valued or valueless, hoards are often seen as harboring dark forces of anti-sociality and death. But anthropology has far too much data on the power of anti-sociality and death in society to cast a simplistic gaze upon hoarding. Instead, hoarding needs to be more carefully defined by investigating its dialectical relationship to saving. The two are inextricably linked in an ongoing effort to reproduce and grow the social world via the world of things. If hoards are frequently deemed “dead,” savings are frequently seen as “living.” Each needs the other in order to survive, suggesting that the cycle of birth, death, decay, and rebirth that is known from the natural world may also be operative in the economic world. Surveying hoarding and saving from this angle amounts to a call to study the metaphysics of the economy as much as its physics. While material and monetary flows move in quantifiable and empirical ways, they carry with them a host of unquantifiable attachments and tethers that continually braid and unbraid the social worlds of which they form an integral part. Understanding the dialectic between hoarding and saving illuminates the threads and boundaries of this social fabric. In actuality, hoards are everywhere and may well be a human “universal”; that is, upon closer inspection, it is likely that all societies have methods for storing away unused and dead things for future use, so that they can one day be reactivated and thereby sustain a social world. Savings, however, are activated live things, consumed in the present, so that they may grow the future today. In this sense, hoarding and saving must be seen as two distinct methods of future orientation. Each carries the capacity to exist on a spectrum of perceived irrationality to rationality, even though popular perceptions often envision hoarding as a distinctly irrational stance toward the imagined future. Succinctly, saving is a process of projecting outward, away from a given self. The given self is casting its future out beyond the limits of the self and asking an outside Other to subsume the saving into its own growth process. Hoarding, by contrast, is a process of projecting inward, magnetically pulling the world of things back toward the given self and away from the risky terrain beyond. Hoarding, then, is a form of retention, a gathering in of things that are not allowed to be shared beyond the given self. Both practices are tied to questions about spatial and temporal boundaries, commoditization, social hierarchy, and a host of related topics that we often struggle to carefully define. Hoarding and saving, in short, help humans navigate the world and chart the future by forming people’s ever-shifting relationship to, and with, the world of things. The disciplines of economics and psychology have both dramatically ramped up their interests in hoards in recent decades, but they have yet to develop a shared discourse. Instead, they have bifurcated into two, highly telling foci of research. Economists are largely interested in the seemingly irrational hoarding of treasure by corporate bodies, whereas psychologists are largely interested in the seemingly irrational hoarding of trash by individual bodies. Insights from anthropological research brings treasure and trash into a unified totality as part of a general human phenomenon of building vivacious social worlds through the vivacious world of things.


Steve Glassey

Public policy around animal welfare in disaster management is a new field, both in practice and in research. Early studies in the 1990s paved the way for a wider and more internationally focused approach to the challenge of protecting both people and animals during disasters, with some countries introducing specific legislative instruments to afford animals better protection in such events. Such reforms are largely motivated by the recognition of the bond humans often have with animals, and the likelihood that they will behave in a way that is protective of them, even at the risk of compromising human safety. However, the issues around animal disaster management and the associated policy are complex and are best categorized as a wicked problem. Production animals are generally highly vulnerable to disaster due to high stock densities and lack of hazard mitigation. However, it is the lack of human–animal bond that leaves these animals largely without disaster-risk-reduction advocacy. In contrast, companion animals that enjoy the paternalistic protection of their guardians benefit from greater rights, and their advocates have a stronger voice to effect change in public policy through democratic processes. This article looks at the historical development of policy and legal reform of animal disaster management in a global context and draws upon numerous studies to provide evidence-based arguments as to why animals matter in disasters and why there are significant public safety and political benefits in protecting them.