A Material Culture

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A Philosophy of Material Culture

A Philosophy of Material Culture Pdf/ePub eBook Author:
Editor: Routledge
ISBN: 1135088705
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A Philosophy of Material Culture by Summary

This book focuses on material culture as a subject of philosophical inquiry and promotes the philosophical study of material culture by articulating some of the central and difficult issues raised by this topic and providing innovative solutions to them, most notably an account of improvised action and a non-intentionalist account of function in material culture. Preston argues that material culture essentially involves activities of production and use; she therefore adopts an action-theoretic foundation for a philosophy of material culture. Part 1 illustrates this foundation through a critique, revision, and extension of existing philosophical theories of action. Part 2 investigates a salient feature of material culture itself—its functionality. A basic account of function in material culture is constructed by revising and extending existing theories of biological function to fit the cultural case. Here the adjustments are for the most part necessitated by special features of function in material culture. These two parts of the project are held together by a trio of overarching themes: the relationship between individual and society, the problem of centralized control, and creativity.

Medical Materialities

Medical Materialities Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Aaron Parkhurst,Timothy Carroll
Editor: Routledge
ISBN: 0429853661
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Medical Materialities by Aaron Parkhurst,Timothy Carroll Summary

Medical Materialities investigates possible points of cross-fertilisation between medical anthropology and material culture studies, and considers the successes and limitations of both sub-disciplines as they attempt to understand places, practices, methods, and cultures of healing. The editors present and expand upon a definition of ‘medical materiality’, namely the social impact of the agency of often mundane, at times non-clinical, materials within contexts of health and illness, as caused by the properties and affordances of this material. The chapters address material culture in various clinical and biomedical contexts and in discussions that link the body and healing. The diverse ethnographic case studies provide valuable insight into the way cultures of medicine are understood and practised.

The Material Culture of Failure

The Material Culture of Failure Pdf/ePub eBook Author: David Jeevendrampillai,Aaron Parkhurst,Timothy Carroll,Julie Shackelford
Editor: Routledge
ISBN: 1000181081
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The Material Culture of Failure by David Jeevendrampillai,Aaron Parkhurst,Timothy Carroll,Julie Shackelford Summary

What happens when objects behave unexpectedly or fail to do what they ‘should’? Who defines failure? Is failure always bad? Rather than viewing concepts such as failure, incoherence or incompetence as antithetical to social life, this innovative new book examines the unexpected and surprising ways in which failure can lead to positive and creative results. Combining both theoretical and ethnographic approaches to failure, The Material Culture of Failure explores how failure manifests itself and operates in a variety of contexts. The editors present ten ethnographic encounters of failure – from areas as diverse as design, textiles, religion, beauty, and physical failure – covering Europe, North America, Asia, Africa, and the Arabian Gulf. Identifying common themes such as interpersonal, national and religious articulations of power and identity, the book shows some of the underlying assumptions that are revealed when materials fail, designs crumble, or things develop unexpectedly.The first anthropological study dedicated to theorizing failure, this innovative collection offers fresh insights based on the latest scholarship. Destined to stimulate a new area of research, the book makes a vital contribution to material culture studies and related social science theory.

The Material Culture Reader

The Material Culture Reader Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Victor Buchli
Editor: Routledge
ISBN: 1000184161
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The Material Culture Reader by Victor Buchli Summary

Material culture has finally earned a central place within anthropology. Emerging from the pioneering work done at University College London, this reader brings together for the first time seminal articles that have helped shape the anthropological study of material culture. With topics ranging from the anthropology of art to architecture, landscape studies, archaeology, consumption studies and heritage management, this key text reflects the breadth of material culture studies today. The authors, who discuss field sites as distant as Vanuatu, New Ireland, Trinidad and Soviet Russia, show how material culture provides a new lens for viewing the world around us and effectively bridges the gap between theory and data. Providing the first-ever synthesis of these ground-breaking essays in an easily accessible volume, this book will serve as a comprehensive introduction to the subject and a valuable reference guide for anyone interested in material culture, anthropology, art and museum studies.

A Material Culture

A Material Culture Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Stephanie Wynne-Jones
Editor: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0191077178
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A Material Culture by Stephanie Wynne-Jones Summary

A Material Culture focuses on objects in Swahili society through the elaboration of an approach that sees people and things as caught up in webs of mutual interaction. It therefore provides both a new theoretical intervention in some of the key themes in material culture studies, including the agency of objects and the ways they were linked to social identities, through the development of the notion of a biography of practice. These theoretical discussions are explored through the archaeology of the Swahili, on the Indian Ocean coast of eastern Africa. This coast was home to a series of settlements from the seventh century onwards; some grew to become coral-built 'stonetowns'. These precolonial towns, such as Kilwa Kisiwani, Mombasa, and Gede, represent a unique urban tradition. They were deeply involved in maritime trade, carried out by a diverse Islamic population. This book suggests that the Swahili are a highly-significant case study for exploration of the relationship between objects and people in the past, as the society was constituted and defined through a particular material setting. Further, it is suggested that this relationship was subtly different than in other areas, and particularly from western models that dominate prevailing analysis. The case is made for an alternative form of materiality, perhaps common to the wider Indian Ocean world, with an emphasis on redistribution and circulation rather than on the accumulation of wealth. The reader will therefore gain familiarity with a little-known and fascinating culture, as well as appreciating the ways that non-western examples can add to our theoretical models.

Handbook of Material Culture

Handbook of Material Culture Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Chris Tilley,Webb Keane,Susanne Kuechler,Mike Rowlands,Patricia Spyer
Editor: SAGE
ISBN: 1446206432
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Handbook of Material Culture by Chris Tilley,Webb Keane,Susanne Kuechler,Mike Rowlands,Patricia Spyer Summary

The study of material culture is concerned with the relationship between persons and things in the past and in the present, in urban and industrialized and in small-scale societies across the globe. The Handbook of Material Culture provides a critical survey of the theories, concepts, intellectual debates, substantive domains and traditions of study characterizing the analysis of things. It is cutting-edge: rather than simply reviewing the field as it currently exists. It also attempts to chart the future: the manner in which material culture studies may be extended and developed. The Handbook of Material Culture is divided into five sections. • Section I maps material culture studies as a theoretical and conceptual field. • Section II examines the relationship between material forms, the human body and the senses. • Section III focuses on subject-object relations. • Section IV considers things in terms of processes and transformations in terms of production, exchange and consumption, performance and the significance of things over the long-term. • Section V considers the contemporary politics and poetics of displaying, representing and conserving material and the manner in which this impacts on notions of heritage, tradition and identity. The Handbook charts an interdisciplinary field of studies that makes an unique and fundamental contribution to an understanding of what it means to be human. It will be of interest to all who work in the social and historical sciences, from anthropologists and archaeologists to human geographers to scholars working in heritage, design and cultural studies.

The Routledge Handbook of Material Culture in Early Modern Europe

The Routledge Handbook of Material Culture in Early Modern Europe Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Catherine Richardson,Tara Hamling,David Gaimster
Editor: Routledge
ISBN: 1317042840
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The Routledge Handbook of Material Culture in Early Modern Europe by Catherine Richardson,Tara Hamling,David Gaimster Summary

The Routledge Handbook of Material Culture in Early Modern Europe marks the arrival of early modern material culture studies as a vibrant, fully-established field of multi-disciplinary research. The volume provides a rounded, accessible collection of work on the nature and significance of materiality in early modern Europe – a term that embraces a vast range of objects as well as addressing a wide variety of human interactions with their physical environments. This stimulating view of materiality is distinctive in asking questions about the whole material world as a context for lived experience, and the book considers material interactions at all social levels. There are 27 chapters by leading experts as well as 13 feature object studies to highlight specific items that have survived from this period (defined broadly as c.1500–c.1800). These contributions explore the things people acquired, owned, treasured, displayed and discarded, the spaces in which people used and thought about things, the social relationships which cluster around goods – between producers, vendors and consumers of various kinds – and the way knowledge travels around those circuits of connection. The content also engages with wider issues such as the relationship between public and private life, the changing connections between the sacred and the profane, or the effects of gender and social status upon lived experience. Constructed as an accessible, wide-ranging guide to research practice, the book describes and represents the methods which have been developed within various disciplines for analysing pre-modern material culture. It comprises four sections which open up the approaches of various disciplines to non-specialists: ‘Definitions, disciplines, new directions’, ‘Contexts and categories’, ‘Object studies’ and ‘Material culture in action’. This volume addresses the need for sustained, coherent comment on the state, breadth and potential of this lively new field, including the work of historians, art historians, museum curators, archaeologists, social scientists and literary scholars. It consolidates and communicates recent developments and considers how we might take forward a multi-disciplinary research agenda for the study of material culture in periods before the mass production of goods.

Understanding Material Culture

Understanding Material Culture Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Ian Woodward
Editor: SAGE
ISBN: 1848607261
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Understanding Material Culture by Ian Woodward Summary

"In his interdisciplinary review of material culture, Ian Woodward goes beyond synthesis to offer a theoretically innovative reconstruction of the field. It is filled with gems of conceptual insight and empirical discovery. A wonderful book." - Jeffrey C. Alexander, Yale University "A well-grounded and accessible survey of the burgeoning field of material culture studies for students in sociology and consumption studies. While situating the field within the history of intellectual thought in the broader social sciences, it offers detailed and accessible case studies. These are supplemented by very useful directions for further in-depth reading, making it an excellent undergraduate course companion." - Victor Buchli, University College London Why are i-pods and mobile phones fashion accessories? Why do people spend thousands remodelling their perfectly functional kitchen? Why do people crave shoes or handbags? Is our desire for objects unhealthy, or irrational? Objects have an inescapable hold over us, not just in consumer culture but increasingly in the disciplines that study social relations too. This book offers a systematic overview of the diverse ways of studying the material as culture. Surveying the field of material culture studies through an examination and synthesis of classical and contemporary scholarship on objects, commodities, consumption, and symbolization, this book: introduces the key concepts and approaches in the study of objects and their meanings presents the full sweep of core theory - from Marxist and critical approaches to structuralism and semiotics shows how and why people use objects to perform identity, achieve social status, and narrativize life experiences analyzes everyday domains in which objects are important shows why studying material culture is necessary for understanding the social. This book will be essential reading for students and researchers in sociology, anthropology, cultural studies, consumer behaviour studies, design and fashion studies.

Wild Things

Wild Things Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Judy Attfield
Editor: Bloomsbury Publishing
ISBN: 1350070734
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Wild Things by Judy Attfield Summary

What do things mean? What does the life of everyday objects reveal about people and their material worlds? Has the quest for 'the real thing' become so important because the high-tech world of total virtuality threatens to engulf us? This pioneering book bridges design theory and anthropology to offer a new and challenging way of understanding the changing meanings of contemporary human-object relations. The act of consumption is only the starting point of object's “lives”. Thereafter they are transformed and invested with new meanings and associations that reflect and assert who we are. Defining designed things as “things with attitude” differentiates the highly visible fashionable object from ordinary aretefacts that are too easily taken for granted. Through case studies ranging from reproduction furniture to fashion and textiles to 'clutter', the author traces the connection between objects and authenticity, ephemerality and self-identity. Beyond this, she shows the materiality of the everyday in terms of space, time and the body and suggests a transition with the passing of time from embodiment to disembodiment.

Modern Material Culture

Modern Material Culture Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Richard A. Gould,Michael B. Schiffer
Editor: Elsevier
ISBN: 1483299201
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Modern Material Culture by Richard A. Gould,Michael B. Schiffer Summary

Modern Material Culture

Anthropology and the Individual

Anthropology and the Individual Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Daniel Miller
Editor: Routledge
ISBN: 1000184706
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Anthropology and the Individual by Daniel Miller Summary

Anthropology is usually associated with the study of society, but the anthropologist must also understand people as individuals. This highly original study demonstrates how methods of social analysis can be applied to the individual, while remaining entirely distinct from psychology and other perspectives on the person. Contributors draw on approaches from material culture to create fascinating portraits of individuals, offering analytical insights that convey ethnographic encounters with often extraordinary people from Turkey, Spain and Britain to Albania, Cuba, Jamaica, Mali, Serbia and Trinidad. Exploring relationships to places and spaces such as social networking sites, to persons such as parents, to ethical concerns such as fairness and to concepts such as the ideology of struggle, Anthropology and the Individual shows how the study of the individual can provide insights into society without losing a sense of the particularity of the person.

The Material Culture and Social Institutions of the Simpler Peoples (Routledge Revivals)

The Material Culture and Social Institutions of the Simpler Peoples (Routledge Revivals) Pdf/ePub eBook Author: L. T. Hobhouse,G. C. Wheeler,M Ginsberg
Editor: Routledge
ISBN: 1135068496
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The Material Culture and Social Institutions of the Simpler Peoples (Routledge Revivals) by L. T. Hobhouse,G. C. Wheeler,M Ginsberg Summary

Originally published in 1915, this pioneer study has long occupied an important place in the literature of sociology. An exercise in the statistical correlation of the economic and social institutions of the working classes of the early twentieth century, the book is an important link between contemporary sociology, with a focus on the problems of social development, and the classical social liberalism on which L. T. Hobhouse left his mark. The reissue includes the introduction written by Morris Ginsberg in the 1965 reprint, where he explains what he and his colleagues set out to achieve and responds to the criticism faced by the study. This is a classic work which is still of great value to sociologists and anthropologists today.

Tourism Art and Souvenirs

Tourism Art and Souvenirs Pdf/ePub eBook Author: David Hume
Editor: Routledge
ISBN: 1135038228
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Tourism Art and Souvenirs by David Hume Summary

This book examines the relationship between art and tourism through the study of the material culture of tourism: tourist art and souvenirs. It thoroughly examines how to categorise the material culture of tourism within the discourses of contemporary art and cultural anthropology, and demonstrates that tourist art is a unique expression of place and genuine artistic style. The first investigation to consider the activity of souvenirs from both indigenous and settler tourist sites, it brings a unique addition to the existing, dated, research in the area. Working initially from Graburn’s definition of tourist art, as the art of one culture made specifically for the consumption of another, Tourism Art and Souvenirs sheds light on important aspects of the souvenir that have not been widely discussed. The most recent research is used to consider how the souvenir is designed and consumed, consumer expectations and influence on the character of the souvenir, how the souvenir maker is consumed by the tradition of heritage and how products become successful as souvenirs. The title also investigates the language involved in the representation of place and the recording of experience through the souvenir, developing a method that expresses the descriptive data of individual souvenir artefacts graphically so the patterns of language may be analysed. Enhancing the understanding of material culture in tourism and therefore adding to future tourism development this volume will be of interest to upper level students, researchers and academics in tourism, culture, heritage and sustainability.

Material Cultures in Canada

Material Cultures in Canada Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Thomas Allen,Jennifer Blair
Editor: Wilfrid Laurier Univ. Press
ISBN: 1771120169
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Material Cultures in Canada by Thomas Allen,Jennifer Blair Summary

Material Cultures in Canada presents the vibrant and diverse field of material culture studies in Canadian literary, artistic, and political contexts today. The first of its kind, this collection features sixteen essays by leading scholars in Canada, each of whom examines a different object of study, including the beaver, geraniums, comics, water, a musical playlist, and the human body. The book’s three sections focus, in turn, on objects that are persistently material, on things whose materiality blends into the immaterial, and on the materials of spaces. Contributors highlight some of the most exciting new developments in the field, such as the emergence of “new materialism,” affect theory, globalization studies, and environmental criticism. Although the book has a Canadian centre, the majority of its contributors consider objects that cross borders or otherwise resist national affiliation. This collection will be valuable to readers within and outside of Canada who are interested in material culture studies and, in addition, will appeal to anyone interested in the central debates taking place in Canadian political and cultural life today, such as climate change, citizenship, shifts in urban and small-town life, and the persistence of imperialism.

Reading Matter

Reading Matter Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Arthur Asa Berger
Editor: Routledge
ISBN: 1351494732
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Reading Matter by Arthur Asa Berger Summary

To be civilized involves, among other things, making, using, and buying objects. Although speculation on the significance of objects often tends to be casual, there are professionals--anthropologists, historians, semioticians, Marxists, sociologists, and psychologists--who analyze material culture in a systematic way and attempt to elicit from it reliable information about people, societies, and cultures. One reason that analyzing objects has been problematical for scholars is the lack of a sound methodology governing multidisciplinary research. Reading Matter addresses this problem by defining a comprehensive set of methodological approaches that can be used to analyze and interpret material culture and relate it to personality and society.Berger offers discussions of the main concepts found in semiotic, historical, anthropological, psychoanalytic, Marxist, and sociological analysis. He provides practical descriptions of the working methods of each discipline and demarcates their special areas of investigation. Berger's lively discussions include a wealth of illustrative examples that help to clarify the complex and often difficult theories that underlie interpretations of material culture. In the second part of his analysis, Berger uses these disciplines to investigate one subject--fashion and an important aspect of fashion, blue jeans, and what the author calls the denimization phenomenon. Here he shows how different methods of reading material culture end up with different perspectives on things--even when they are dealing with the same topic.The author's focus is on the material culture of post-literate societies and cultures, both contemporary and historical. This comparative approach enables the reader to trace the evolution of objects from past to present or to see how American artifacts spread to different cultures, acquiring a wholly new meaning in the process. Reading Matter is an important contribution to the study of popula

What Objects Mean

What Objects Mean Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Arthur Asa Berger
Editor: Routledge
ISBN: 1315415836
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What Objects Mean by Arthur Asa Berger Summary

Arthur Asa Berger, author of an array of texts in communication, popular culture, and social theory, is back with the second edition of his popular, user-friendly guide for students who want to understand the social meanings of objects. In this broadly interdisciplinary text, Berger takes the reader through half a dozen theoretical models that are commonly used to analyze objects. He then describes and analyzes eleven objects, many of them new to this edition—including smartphones, Facebook, hair dye, and the American flag—showing how they demonstrate concepts like globalization, identity, and nationalism. The book includes a series of exercises that allow students to analyse objects in their own environment. Brief and inexpensive, this introductory guide will be used in courses ranging from anthropology to art history, pop culture to psychology.

Language and Material Culture

Language and Material Culture Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Allison Paige Burkette
Editor: John Benjamins Publishing Company
ISBN: 9027267944
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Language and Material Culture by Allison Paige Burkette Summary

This innovative and provocative work introduces complexity theory and its application to both the study of language and the study of material culture. The book begins with a wide-ranging theoretical background, covering the areas of dialect geography, the anthropological study of material culture, and a general introduction to the study of complex adaptive systems. Following this general introduction, the principles of complexity theory are demonstrated in data drawn from linguistics and material culture studies. Language and Material Culture further highlights the principles of complexity through a series of case studies, using data from the Linguistic Atlas, colonial American inventories and the Historic American Building Survey. LMC shows that language and material culture are intertwined as they interact within the same cultural complex system. The book is designed for students in courses that focus on language variation, American English and material culture, in addition to general courses on applications of complex systems.

Material Culture and Text

Material Culture and Text Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Christopher Tilley
Editor: Routledge
ISBN: 1317599667
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Material Culture and Text by Christopher Tilley Summary

Originally published in 1991, this is the first book-length exploration of post-structuralist discourse theory in archaeology. It tackles the most basic problem of historical and archaeological analysis - the relationship between text and artefact – in an analysis of prehistoric art fusing theory and the practice of interpretation to create a fresh framework for understanding the relationship between past and present. Focusing on a collection of rock carvings from northern Sweden, the author shows how alternative conceptualizations of the material from structuralist, hermeneutic and structural-Marxist frameworks substantially alter our understanding of their meaning and significance. Engaging readers in an interpretive process, this book is for specialists in archaeology, anthropology, art history and cultural studies.

History and Material Culture

History and Material Culture Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Karen Harvey
Editor: Routledge
ISBN: 1351678116
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History and Material Culture by Karen Harvey Summary

Sources are the raw material of History, but whereas the written word has traditionally been seen as the principal source, historians now recognize the value of sources beyond text. In this new edition of History and Material Culture, contributors consider a range of objects – from an eighteenth-century bed curtain to a twenty-first-century shopping trolley – which can help historians develop new interpretations and new knowledge about the past. Containing two new chapters on healing objects in East Africa and the shopping trolley in the social world, this book examines a variety of material sources from around the globe and across centuries to assess how such sources can be used to study the distant and the recent past. In a revised introduction, Karen Harvey discusses some of the principal issues raised when historians use material culture, particularly in the context of 'the material turn', and suggests some initial steps for those unfamiliar with these kinds of sources. While the sources are discussed from interdisciplinary perspectives, the emphasis of the book is on what historians stand to gain from using material culture, as well as what historians have to offer the broader study of material culture. Clearly written and accessible, this book is the ideal introduction to the opportunities and challenges of researching material culture, and is essential reading for all students of historical theory and method.

Material Culture and Authenticity

Material Culture and Authenticity Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Magdalena Craciun
Editor: Routledge
ISBN: 1000182924
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Material Culture and Authenticity by Magdalena Craciun Summary

The study of material culture demonstrates that objects make people just as much as people make, exchange and consume objects. But what if these objects are, in the eyes of others, only fakes? What kind of material mirror are people looking into? Are their real selves really reflected in this mirror? This book provides an original and revealing study into engagements with objects that are not what they are claimed and presumed to be and, subsequently, are believed to betray their makers as well as users. Drawing upon an ethnography of fake branded garments in Turkey and Romania, Material Culture and Authenticity shows how people can make authentic positions for themselves in and through fake objects.The book will be of interest to students and scholars working in the fields of anthropology, material culture and cultural studies as well as to general readers interested in ethnographic alternatives to biographies of famous fakers and fakes.