In this ground-breaking work, the distinguished anthropological theorist, Michael Brian Schiffer, presents a profound challenge to the social sciences. Through a broad range of examples, he demonstrates how theories of behaviour and communication have too often ignored the fundamental importance of objects in human life.
In The Material Life of Human Beings, the author builds upon the premise that the most important feature of human life is not language but the relationships which take place between people and objects. The author shows that artifacts are involved in all modes of human communication - be they visual, auditory or tactile. By creatively folding elements of postmodernist thought into a scientific framework, he creates new concepts and models for understanding and analysing communication and behavior. Challenging established theories within the social sciences, Michael Brian Schiffer offers a reassessment of the centrality of materiality to everyday life.
Michael Brian Schiffer is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Arizona. He is well known for his work in the fields of modern material culture, archaeological theory and experimental archaeology and has published a number of books on these subjects, including The Portable Radio in American Life (1991), Behavioral Archaeology: First Principles (1995) and Taking Charge: The Electric Automobile in America (1994).Stephen J. Lee is Head of History at Bromsgrove School. His many publications include Aspects of European History (in two volumes), Peter the Great and The European Dictatorships, 1918-1945