What Objects Mean: An Introduction to Material Culture, 2nd Edition (Paperback) book cover

What Objects Mean

An Introduction to Material Culture, 2nd Edition

By Arthur Asa Berger, Arthur Asa Berger


272 pages

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Paperback: 9781611329049
pub: 2014-06-01
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eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315415857
pub: 2016-06-16
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Arthur Asa Berger, author of an array of texts in communication, popular culture, and social theory, is back with the second edition of his popular, user-friendly guide for students who want to understand the social meanings of objects. In this broadly interdisciplinary text, Berger takes the reader through half a dozen theoretical models that are commonly used to analyze objects. He then describes and analyzes eleven objects, many of them new to this edition—including smartphones, Facebook, hair dye, and the American flag—showing how they demonstrate concepts like globalization, identity, and nationalism. The book includes a series of exercises that allow students to analyse objects in their own environment. Brief and inexpensive, this introductory guide will be used in courses ranging from anthropology to art history, pop culture to psychology.

Table of Contents


Part I: Theoretical Approaches to Material Culture

Chapter 1: Making Sense of Material Culture

Chapter 2: A Freudian Psychoanalytic Approach

Chapter 3: Semiotic Approaches to Material Culture

Chapter 4: Sociological Analysis of Material Culture

Chapter 5: Economic Theory, Marxism, and Material Culture

Chapter 6: Cultural Theory and Material Culture

Chapter 7: Archaeological Theory and Material Culture

Part II: Applications

Chapter 8: Exchange

Chapter 9: Style

Chapter 10: Technology

Chapter 11: Globalization

Chapter 12: Identity

Chapter 13: Transformations

Chapter 14: Sociability

Chapter 15: Shape

Chapter 16: Diffusion

Chapter 17: Narratives

Chapter 18: Nationalism

Part III: Material Culture Games

The Artifacts Inventory Game

The Time Capsule Game

Disciplinary Perspectives on Objects

The Grid-Group Theory and Objects Game

The Objects and Personal Identity Game

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / General