Our Wallets, Our Stories

What we, as people, carry around with us every day can say a lot about who we are. One would not think that we could tell anything about a person just from what they might have in their pockets, purses, or wallets, but this is not true. What a person carries with them every day, as they go about their routines and lives, has the ability to speak volumes about what is important to us, and where it is we might come from.

The things people take with them throughout their day may have something to do with what they believe is most important in their lives. As anthropologist Erin B. Taylor discovered in her research of one couple living in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, not everyone chooses to carry the same things with them. While nearly everyone seems to think it is vital to carry some form of identification and access to money with them, the manners and ways people do this can be different. Some people choose to take legal documentation with them, while others might choose the easiest or simplest form of identification. Some may choose to carry large amounts of cash on themselves, while others prefer to not carry cash and would rather keep a bank or credit card in their wallets instead. There are even those who travel frequently that will keep other currencies on themselves, for the sake of nostalgia or other purposes.

While what people keep with them throughout their days might not seem significant, these items have the potential to reveal a person’s background: a person might carry items that have sentimental value or are culturally significant. Other things people keep may just be for practical reasons, but there are some items that can reveal where a person is from, and where they might be going. There is anthropological significance to this subject in that what we keep on us throughout the duration of our lives can be pieced together to create our stories, and tell the world around us what it is that we value most.

Taylor, Erin. “What Do the Things You Carry Say About You?” PopAnth. 7 Apr. 2014. Web. .


One thought on “Our Wallets, Our Stories

  1. Before reading your anthropological post, I never think about the objects that I take with me everyday have such a deep meaning. I only think I take them with me because that I will use them but I never think they can stand for my identification even stereotype me or revel my background. I think it’s why anthropology is useful and amazing: it shows how do people make meaning. However, I have a question: what’s the specific process of those objects tell their owners’ stories?

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