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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] David Simon, an American author and journalist, describes the power of defining things as the antithesis of true understanding. He claims, "When discussing power we believe that laws...have clearly defined what is right and wrong, acceptable and unacceptable" (Simon). What is acceptable and unacceptable is also thought of as average or normal. Social norms are powerful interpretations that govern society's behaviors. To appear normal one must follow certain norms such as social expectations. It is a social expectation to have a level of sentimentality or nostalgia. Nostalgia is impractical and inconvenient, but most of all it is not a necessity. I am interested in our culture's social expectations regarding basic necessities versus our obsessive valuation of personal possessions. We assume that an item is precious when it is unique, one of a kind, and has a history that promotes nostalgia and imparts sentimental value. I propose massed produced and readily available objects can be stand-ins for memories legitimizing them as equally sentimental and valuable. Home is the first place in which we cultivate our values and perceptions of normal. The term Dwell, references the act of living in a particular place but also has connotations of obsessive behavior as evidenced in the quote "don't dwell on it". The ambiguous nature of this terminology is central to my critique. It draws the viewer's attention to our obsessive sentimental attachment to objects within the domestic environment. It is through my questioning of absolute structures that I hope to point out the irrationality of absolute understanding.
Access is limited to the campuses of the University of Missouri.