About one in three people in North America and Europe collects something. Collecting is clearly an important social phenomenon and yet surprisingly little is known about how and why we collect. On Collecting explores the nature of collecting both in Europe and among people living within the European tradition and elsewhere. The way people collect tells us about their notions of themselves and others, about their relationship to objects, and helps us understand people as consumers. Susan Pearce addresses many of the important issues surrounding the practice of collecting. She considers how European collecting practice is part of an essentially European mentality, how collected objects have cultural value and how the individuals who collect them help to affect the society they live in. This book breaks new ground in its analysis of our relationship to the material world. It will be of value to museam professionals and students, cultural historians and anyone interested in the phenomenon of collecting.