In the Street: Personal Adornment and Movement in the Urban Landscapes of Boston

  • Alexander Keim
Part of the Contributions To Global Historical Archaeology book series (CGHA, volume 35)


Urban landscapes are constructed, in part, by the everyday practice and experience of those who dwell within them. This chapter seeks to better understand this process by using archaeologically recovered material culture to gain insight into the intersection of embodied movement, adornment, self-perception, social interaction, and the material and intangible aspects of the urban landscape. Analyzing material culture recovered from two nineteenth-century working-class sites located in Boston, Massachusetts, suggests several intersections that merit further investigation. This includes exploring self-presentation and social perception through artifacts of personal adornment, looking at consumer goods like bric-a-brac to gauge people’s relationship with larger cultural and social dialogues about public behavior, and using artifacts like embossed pharmaceutical bottles as tangible evidence for movement and experience in the urban landscape. A better understanding of the relationship between practice, the self, and urban space can help make sense of how living in cities affects how individuals perceive themselves and the world around them.


Material Culture Urban Landscape Practice Theory Intangible Aspect Pawn Shop 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexander Keim
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ArchaeologyBoston UniversityBostonUSA

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