Cards

Cards

In many parts of the world, it is still customary to exchange Christmas cards or similar cards for people who celebrate other festivals, as well as birthday cards. It is usual in the academic literature to see such cards – which typically arrive in envelopes, along with postcards, which do not – as lacking some of the essential features of letters. This is in particular that they are a one-way form of communication, as the convention is that they do not contain a return address, rather than presuming a response in the way that letters are seen as doing because conventionally they start with the writer’s address. Ho-hum, hum-ho. Yes, but also no. And no because this is to take a very circumscribed view of what ‘response‘ might consist of. After all, a postcard that says ‘visit me Saturday morning at 10 am’ certainly presumes a response, albeit not a written one in the form of a card or a letter. In the ordinary South African letters that the WWW project has been concerned with, in a very large number of instances, indeed perhaps even a majority, a response has been intended, but not that it would necessarily take an epistolary form. Life is a complicated business and its different aspects not surprisingly overflow into each other, so that talk becomes something written becomes something visual becomes an activity becomes a scribbled note becomes something else. As researchers, we may focus on small slivers of this, but need to remember the entirety and that it all hangs together.

 

Last updated: 8 January 2021


ESRC_50th-ANNIVERSARY-LOGO-RGB-blue-white-gold