Life Like Dolls

Life Like Dolls

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Since the 1980s there has been a growing billion dollar business producing porcelain collectible dolls. Avertised in Sunday newspapers and mailbox fliers, even Marie Osmond, an avid collector herself, is now promoting her own line of dolls on the Home Shopping Network and sales are soaring. With average price tags of $100 -- and $500 or more for a handcrafted or limited edition doll -- these dolls strike a chord in the hearts of middle-aged and older women, their core buyers, some of whom create qnurseriesq devoted to collections that number in the hundreds. Each doll has its own name, identity and qadoption certificate, q like Shawna, qwho has just learned to stack blocks all by herself, q and Bobby, whose qbrown, handset eyes shine with mischief and little-boy plans.q Exploring the nexus of emotions, consumption and commodification they represent, A. F. Robertson tracks the rise of the porcelain collectible market; interviews the women themselves; and visits their clubs, fairs and homes to understand what makes the dolls so irresistible. Lifelike but freakish; novelties that profess to be antiques; pricey kitsch: These dolls are the product of powerful emotions and big business. Life Like Dolls pursues why middle-class, educated women obsessively collect these dolls and what this phenomenon says about our culture.On the one hand, aquot;playaquot; is as much an adult as a childa#39;s activity, but the boundaries are drawn differendy. ... Many serious collections are confined to store cupboards or bank vaults, but what makes doll collections seem unusually aquot; warmbloodedaquot; (as one woman put it) is tlieir very visible ... The majority are elegant little girls dressed Victorian-style. . . . One or two are antique, but many are not worth a bean.

Title:Life Like Dolls
Author:A. F. Robertson
Publisher:Psychology Press - 2004


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