Swift, Jacqueline Margot (2013) To what extent collectors of intangibles have motivations distinct from those of collectors of material objects. Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.

Collecting is an inherently human activity and much can be understood about the individual through the observation of this practice. This thesis identifies the motivations of collectors of intangibles, such as beer tickers (people who collect information relating to the beers they have drunk) and train spotters (those who collect notes of trains they have seen), in comparison to collectors of material objects. Little is published that gives insight into this niche activity, although through television and the printed media, negative opinions on this social group are plentiful. By observations of social settings at real ale pubs, a railway gala, numerous beer festivals, and 19 interviews with both types of collectors, this thesis reveals a complex and fulfilling activity. The principal conclusion is that whilst these collectors of ‘nothing’ recognise the apparent absurdity of collecting hundreds or thousands of ‘ticks’, that have no value beyond themselves, they in doing so construct fulfilling lives that are both highly particularised and inherently sociable. Whilst there is clear evidence that their motivations frequently overlap with collectors of material artefacts, the notion of ‘being’ and not ‘having’ is their main motivation.

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