Affective Materialism: Sentiments, Materialism, and the Developers of New Maturities in Botswana


A Kellogg Work-in-Progress Seminar with Visiting Fellow Deborah Durham.

The past 20 years have seen an explosion in material goods in Botswana, seen in shopping malls, on people’s bodies, and in their homes. Durham's project draws on long-term research in the country, to explore how this sudden profusion of often inexpensive material goods, from new foods and clothing to microwaves and tablets, has affected people’s connections to one another. People in Botswana have long been connected through sentiments and material exchanges which link giver and receiver for good or harm. Managing sentiment, people, and things is part of how people achieve social and personal maturity. The new materialism has made maturity easier to achieve, but also demands new work and ways of managing precarity.

Work-in-Progress Seminars are designed to generate in-depth discussion of new scholarly work. For the pre-circulated paper and to attend, register with

Speakers / Related People
Deborah Durham

Deborah Durham is a cultural anthropologist. She specializes in the study of youth and identity, both in Botswana and worldwide, and she has also studied aging and the middle class in Turkey. Her recent research has focused on complaints voiced around the world about obtaining adulthood and the meaning of adulthood...
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