In which are explored the matrices of text, textile, and exile through metaphor, networks, poetics, etymologies, etc., with an occasional subplot relating these elements to Iggy and the Stooges.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Ragpickers Guild

Here is a wonderful historic (museum of urban life) site with information on the culture of French ragpickers. Although in an earlier post I dwelled on Benjamin's depiction of the ragpicker as "the most provocative figure of human misery," the site emphasizes the degree to which ragpickers had their own social structures, guilds, hierarchies, organized culture, etc. My forebears were bottle collectors when they first got to the New World from the Pale of Settlement, but many others were rag pickers and textile scavengers and built empires therein that eventually resulted in a massive "shmatte trade."

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