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The Handbag: a revelation of the daily life of women


Interview with Jean-Claude Kaufmann, sociologist

Daily partner, « self extension « , handbags assists women in their everyday lives. Both as a fashion accessory but also as a sentimental object, handbags carry many meanings. The evolution of the women status in society is reflected in their handbag. Through its content, it reveals the importance of family tasks still on the shoulders of women, but also the women’s desire to being « wonder women ».

You have developed extensive research on specific objects: laundry and handbags. To what extent did you choose those more than others?

We could say that all objects can have something to say. Sometimes they are embedded in the ordinary, the routine, almost invisible, and just suddenly, they have a shallow function you can highlight. Other times, it is difficult to understand. In particular, I tried to conduct a survey on the front door. For me, it was an object that symbolizes the crossing of the ground in all civilizations. However, I failed; this was because people did not want to talk about it. It is not that the subject had nothing to say, but it was hard to explain.