'Twin transformations': The Salvation Army's charity shops and the recreating of material and social value

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This article uses an empirically grounded historical case study of The Salvation Army's charity shops in Melbourne, Australia to review recent debates around the position and function of 'cultural intermediaries' beyond its traditional meaning and application to aesthetic sectors within cultural industries. Drawing on archival research, cultural observation and interviews with staff members, the article focuses on the stores' specific cultural identity engendered by the organization's history of remaking the value of discarded objects, alongside its development of individual human agency and context-based community links. Secondhand 'Salvos Stores' form a network of hybrid commercial and social enterprises that serves as a basis for developing a wider conceptualization of the notion 'cultural intermediary'. Following Cronin, Howells and McFall, we argue for an understanding which emphasizes their embedded, contextually reliant qualities, informed by the discourses, practices and networks of sociality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)721-735
Number of pages15
JournalEuropean Journal of Cultural Studies
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Charity
  • charity shops
  • cultural economy
  • cultural intermediary
  • not-for-profit
  • recycling
  • secondhand
  • The Salvation Army
  • value transformation

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