• The Temporal Uses of Moral Things: Manifesting, Anchoring and Conserving Caring Relations within the Sensorium

      Balmer, Andrew; orcid: 0000-0002-7146-0448; email: andrew.balmer@manchester.ac.uk; Meckin, Robert; Abbott, Owen (SAGE Publications, 2020-12-04)
      In this article we argue that menthol-containing products, like chewing gums, vapour rubs and mouthwashes, are used as moral things within everyday practices. They take on moral functions because of how their material qualities contribute to sensory experiences. Specifically, we focus on scenarios in which menthol products become associated with the moral work of care and highlight the temporal dimension of what people do with moral things. We review the literature on morality as a practical, everyday accomplishment and stress the embodied nature of caring practices to outline how care is bound up with sensory experience. We draw on rich qualitative data generated through creative methods, including film, photography and sketching, as part of object-elicitation interviews, focus groups, home tours and ‘pop-up stalls’. We develop three concepts regarding the function of moral things: manifesting, anchoring and conserving moral relations to describe how time, morality and the sensory are entwined.