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Objects, artifacts, and other forms of material culture are studied in many different parts of the university. Yet, to date, there has been no introductory book that allows students to understand the basic ways in which material culture can be studied. Arthur Asa Berger, author of an array of texts in communication, popular culture, and social theory, provides a brief, user-friendly guide for students who want to learn what objects can mean. He takes the reader through half a dozen theoretical models that are commonly used to understand objects. He then describes and analyzes fifteen objects, showing how they demonstrate ideas like authenticity, globalization, and identity. Finally, Berger provides a series of exercises to allow students to do their own analyses of objects in their environment. Brief and inexpensive enough to be included as a component in courses ranging from anthropology to art history, pop culture and psychology, Berger’s introductory guide to material culture will be of use to many instructors and their students.
Arthur Asa Berger is professor emeritus in the Department of Broadcast Communication Arts at San Francisco State University. He is author of 60 books on media, popular culture, visual culture, and writing. He has written textbooks, scholarly works, practical manuals and a series of teaching novels for classroom use.
Table of Contents
|Theoretical Approaches to Material Culture||p. 13|
|Making Sense of Material Culture||p. 14|
|Defining Material Culture||p. 16|
|"The Blue Carbuncle" as a Model for the Study of Material Culture||p. 17|
|On the Nature of Theory||p. 21|
|Nietzsche and Perspectivism||p. 23|
|The Rashomon Problem||p. 25|
|A Freudian Psychoanalytic Approach||p. 26|
|Artifacts and the Unconscious: Freud's Topographic Hypothesis||p. 28|
|Id, Ego and Superego: Freud's Structural Hypothesis||p. 31|
|Symbolic Aspects of Material Culture||p. 33|
|Sexual Development and Material Culture||p. 35|
|Semiotic Approaches to Material Culture||p. 38|
|Saussure on Signs||p. 39|
|Problems with Interpreting Signs||p. 43|
|Peirce on Signs||p. 44|
|On the Veracity of Signs||p. 46|
|Denotation and Connotation||p. 47|
|Sociological Analysis of Material Culture||p. 50|
|Sociological Theory||p. 51|
|Taste Cultures||p. 55|
|Uses and Gratifications Provided by Artifacts||p. 59|
|Race, Ethnicity and Gender||p. 60|
|Economic Theory, Marxism, and Material Culture||p. 64|
|Needs Versus Desires: Traveling Light and Arriving Heavy||p. 65|
|Marxist Theory and Alienation||p. 67|
|Class Conflict||p. 68|
|The Role of Advertising||p. 69|
|Thorstein Veblen and Conspicuous Consumption||p. 70|
|Max Weber and Calvinist-Protestant Thought||p. 72|
|Georg Simmel on Fashion||p. 74|
|Walter Benjamin and the Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction||p. 75|
|Authenticity and Postmodern Thought||p. 77|
|Cultural Theory and Material Culture||p. 80|
|Clotaire Rapaille and Culture Codes||p. 82|
|Mary Douglas and Grid-Group Theory||p. 84|
|Myth and Material Culture||p. 88|
|Archaeological Theory and Material Culture||p. 92|
|The Cultural History and Anthropological Archaeology Approaches||p. 94|
|Processual Theory||p. 95|
|Post-Processual Theory||p. 97|
|The Cha&ihat;ne Opératoire||p. 99|
|Behavioral or Transformational Archaeology||p. 100|
|Cognitive Archaeology||p. 102|
|Authenticity Paintings of Prince Henry||p. 107|
|Context Mirrors||p. 115|
|Exchange Kula Objects||p. 123|
|Style Blue Jeans||p. 129|
|Technology Cell Phones||p. 137|
|Globalization Coca-Cola||p. 145|
|Gender Cosmetics||p. 153|
|Identity Air Jordans||p. 159|
|Transformation Books||p. 167|
|Reality Digital Cameras||p. 175|
|Religion Rangda Masks||p. 181|
|Shape Milk Cartons||p. 189|
|Representation The Tokyo Subway System||p. 195|
|Material Culture Games||p. 201|
|The Artifacts Inventory Game||p. 202|
|The Time Capsule Game||p. 204|
|Disciplinary Perspectives on Objects||p. 206|
|The Grid-Group Theory and Objects Game||p. 208|
|The Objects and Personal Identity Game||p. 211|
|The Signifying Objects Game||p. 212|
|Disciplinary Writing Exercise||p. 214|
|The Analyzing Artifact Advertisements Game||p. 215|
|The Id/Ego/Superego Objects Game||p. 218|
|The Functions of Objects Game||p. 220|
|About the Author||p. 239|
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