Tung, A. (2020). The Afterlives of Things: An Ethnography of Seattle’s Goodwill Outlet. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.14418/wes01.1.2304
This thesis is an ethnography of a Goodwill Outlet store in Seattle; it examines the relationships between people and things embedded in the experience of shopping. The Outlet, also referred to as ‘The Bins’, sells Goodwill Industries’ unsold merchandise and donations by the pound. In this ethnography, I explore the historical origins of Goodwill Industries as a religious and moral project, and situate the Goodwill Outlet within the development of modern consumer culture. I discuss the past lives of secondhand objects and their potential for creating connections between people. Through observations, conversations with other shoppers, and archival research, I use the Outlet as a site for examining the multifaceted relationships between people and things that form under consumer capitalism.