Material Cultures: Why Some Things Matter
The field of material culture, while historically well established, has recently enjoyed something of a renaissance. Methods once dominated by Marxist- and commodity-oriented analyses and by the study of objects as symbols are giving way to a more ethnographic approach to artifacts. This orientation is the cornerstone of the essays presented in Material Cultures. A collection of case studies which move from the domestic sphere to the global arena, the volume includes examinations of the soundscape produced by home radios, catalog shopping, the role of paper in the workplace, and the relationship between the production and consumption of Coca-Cola in Trinidad.
The diversity of the essays is mediated by their common commitment to ethnography with a material focus. Rather than examine objects as mirages of media or language, Material Cultures emphasizes how the study of objects not only contributes to an understanding of artifacts but is also an effective means for studying social values and contradictions.
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Why some things matter
The domestic sphere
Radio texture between self and others
From woollen carpet to grass carpet bridging house and garden in an English suburb
Window shopping at home classifieds catalogues and new consumer skills
The public sphere
The message in paper
Material of culture fabric of identity
The global sphere or the World Wide West
CocaCola a black sweet drink from Trinidad
Signs of the new nation gift exchange consumption and aid on a former collective farm in northwest Estonia
At home and abroad inalienable wealth personal consumption and formulations of femininity in the southern Philippines
abroad acquisition adat advertising Anthropology Argos Argos catalogue artefacts banner become Bessbrook calypso calypsonian Cambridge carnival ceremony chapter clothing Coca-Cola Coke collective farm colour commodities consumers consumption context create Daniel Miller decoration discourse display domestic donkey dress Eric Williams Estonian Estonian Swedes ethnic ethnographic everyday example formal furniture garden gender global gold jewellery household identity images important informants Jennifer Jersey Farm Kinson Kwiksave listening London Loot lounge Martin Smyth material culture material culture studies means Miller Muslim objects Orange Orange Order overt message paper parades particular Philippines political Protestant purchase Qur'anic reading radio sound relation relationship ritual Scrunter sense silence social soundscape Soviet space specific station status style Sweden Swedish sweet drink symbolic Tausug television things traditional transformation Trinidad Trinidadian Trisha Ulster unfurling University Press wedding Western women