Understanding Material Culture
- Ian Woodward - Syddansk Universitet, Denmark, Institute of Marketing and Management, University of Southern Denmark
Sociology of Culture
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 - to evaluate the frameworks for approaching the material world;
" 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: social status, identity, social performance and narrativization;
" 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.
This book deserves its niche, both as a textbook covering long standing debates and discussions, but also as an entry point to a particular perspective. It comes about as close as anything I have seen to a genuine standard textbook that tries to transcend particular disciplines.