Souvenirs, broadly conceived, are generally thought to be the material counterpart of travels, events, relationships and memories of all kinds. The material items classed as souvenirs discussed in this text have memorial functions, usually connected with the owner's travels. But not all of the items are souvenirs of tourism; they are also souvenirs of other past phenomena, such as political events (suffragettes), colonial history (India), former artistic pre-eminence (Awaji Ningyo puppetry) or former ways of life (South American ceramic archaisms). The authors do not necessarily focus on material souvenirs in their memorial function as prompters of memory. They also use their case studies as starting points for the discussion of many interesting contemporary phenomena, such as cottage industries for economic development in Mexico and Ainu, as devices to invigorate or maintain artistic practices, as emblems of cultural conformity (Surrealists) or as symbolic weapons in national and international political arguments. A key focus of many of the chapters is the question of meaning: what is the meaning of any particular souvenir or collection, and for whom does it bear that meaning?
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