Material culture

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Material culture

Post  fearlove on Sun Nov 13, 2011 1:06 am

In the social sciences, material culture is a term that refers to the relationship between artifacts and social relations. Studying a culture's relationship to materiality is a lens through which social and cultural attitudes can be discussed. It is also a term used by historians, sometimes described under the variant term material history, where it means the study of ancient objects in order to understand how a particular culture was organised and functioned over time.
People's relationship to and perception of objects are socially and culturally dependent.[1][2] The perceived importance of our material heritage was expressed in 1976 by a UNESCO panel that claimed "cultural property is a basic element of people’s identity and ‘being depends on having’ (Rowlands, 2002: 127)" [3] Although protecting cultural heritage can help to empower minorities, preoccupations with official monuments can also silence diverse histories.[4]
This discourse has its roots in museums, but there has been "a shift from such favored objects of theory as Stonehenge and Kula valuables to consumables like tomato soup" [5] This shift is also made visible by the number of books that explore our engagement with the physical world through specific objects; Pencils, zippers, toilets, tulips, etc.[6]
Critical discourse surrounding con

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