It has been claimed that the natural sciences have abstracted for themselves a 'material world' set apart from human concerns, and social sciences, in their turn, constructed 'a world of actors devoid of things'. While a subject such as archaeology, by its very nature, takes objects into account, other disciplines, such as psychology, emphasize internal mental structures and other non-material issues. This book brings together a team of contributors from across the social sciences who have been taking 'things' more seriously to examine how people relate to objects. The contributors focus on every day objects and how these objects enter into our activities over the course of time. Using a combination of different theoretical approaches, including actor network theory, ecological psychology, cognitive linguistics and science and technology studies, the book argues against the standard notion of objects and their properties as inert and meaningless and argues for the need to understand the relations between people and objects in terms of process and change.
’There is growing consensus that human beings are inextricably interwoven with the artefacts and cultural practices that jointly constitute the unique medium of human life. This stimulating collection of essays provides a wealth of examples that embody this insight in a wide variety of settings. Costall and Dreier have organized a giant step forward toward the reintegration of the human sciences.’ Michael Cole, University of California, USA ’From psychology and linguistics to architecture, archaeology and material culture studies, the orthodoxy that isolated human minds confront a world of inert and meaningless objects is being challenged. This book takes up the challenge, showing how agency and intentionality arise as properties of the very relations that people set up in their lifelong, practical engagement with the things around them. The book is a must for anyone concerned with how things are designed, made and used.’ Tim Ingold, University of Aberdeen, UK '…I found this book to be interesting…would provide you with some foundational ideas.' Journal of Occupational Science '…insightful contributions to the growing body of academic work taking things more seriously and rethinking how people relate to objects.' Cultural Geographies