The Material Culture Reader

The Material Culture Reader

The Material Culture Reader

The Material Culture Reader

Synopsis

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.

Excerpt

This reader is a compilation of some of the representative works of the Material Culture Group at University College London. It is by no means exhaustive and representative, but it does provide an idea of the range of subjects, contexts and problems material culture studies at University College have addressed over the years and at present. The works here are a sampling of some of the dominant concerns of the contributors. In turn, each contribution is preceded with an introduction by the author placing the work within broader themes relevant to the study of the material world. As a result the compass of these works is quite diverse, giving the reader a sense of the broad and at times conflicting issues in which material cultures studies as a whole participates. What might appear an unruly collection of works is united by an abiding concern for the materiality of cultural life and its diverse and at times conflicting vitality.

Up to now there has never been a ‘snapshot’ of the work of this group, so the introduction to such a compilation offers a place to look back and try to place this ‘snapshot’ within the larger scheme of things. As such, this provides the opportunity to examine in general the trajectory of development of material culture studies through a particular cohort of scholars. It also affords the opportunity to attempt and delineate some of the overall issues affecting material cultures studies from this writer's perspective and from there, hopefully, offer some suggestions as to where we are now and where we might be going next.

The particular cohort of which we are speaking are the contributors: Barbara Bender, Victor Buchli, Susanne Kachler, Daniel Miller, Christopher Pinney, Michael Rowlands, Nicholas J. Saunders and Christopher Tilley. It is very obvious that this cohort represents a viewpoint that is distinctly British despite Buchli and Kachler being from the United States and Germany respectively (though they both received their doctorates from British universities). In terms of the British academic traditions of which this group is a part, the cohort is quite firmly situated within the Universities of London and Cambridge and their schools, departments and institutes of archaeology and anthropology. This immediately distinguishes this cohort from scholars of material culture in the United States who, in addition to coming out of the traditions of archaeology and anthropology, are strongly . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.