Entangled Things: Objects Beyond Agency and Disposability
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Entangled Things takes the concept of entanglement as its starting point in investigating the often unintentional relationship between us and the material things we are obsessed with or reliant on. Hulme uses each chapter to focus on a specific ethnography to illustrate a particular form of entanglement and uses this to discuss specific theories that relate to, or are specifically concerned with, entanglement. In so doing, Hulme encourages a wider consideration of the place of humans in the world, and the kind of choices we enact when influenced by the things we possess. Through engagement with a variety of thought on our relationship with things, including considering this relationship in light of ideas of alienation (Marx), conspicuous consumption (Vehblen), class (Baudrillard and Bourdieu), and more recently in terms of our place as consumer-citizens (Trentmann) and as members of a connected system in which human and non-human are blurred (Bennett, Latour, Ingold) and as evidence of our own creative agency (Miller), Hulme advances the concept of entanglement as the best means through which this relationship can be viewed. Rather than being something that is 'messy' in a simplistic way, Hulme conveys how political intricacies abound in the things with which we become entangled, regardless of how much agency we do or do not have in each specific scenario. Carefully weaving together established theory and practical ethnography, this is a must-read for students of anthropology, cultural studies, psychology and material culture.
Table of Contents
List of IllustrationsAcknowledgementsIntroductionCh. 1: On Desiring ThingsCh. 2: On Hoarding ThingsCh. 3: On Inheriting ThingsCh. 4: On Making ThingsCh. 5: On Rejecting ThingsConclusionNotesReferencesIndex
Alison Hulme is Lecturer at University College Dublin, Ireland and author of On The Commodity Trail (Bloomsbury, 2015).