This article examines a special category of objects, things that people should not give or sell, but keep from generation to generation within the close confines of a group - inalienable wealth. Previous findings about inalienable wealth are restricted to studies of indigenous cultures by anthropologists. We explore whether and how objects pass from alienable to inalienable status across generations of middle-class North American families. Our research distinguishes families' inalienable wealth from individuals' cherished possessions and keepsakes in terms of the role of caretakers, the behavioral dynamics of guardianship, temporal orientation, shared significance, and distinctive semiotic qualities.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Business and International Management
- Economics and Econometrics