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Material Culture


undefined, object
copy deck
Capitalism leads to situations in which producers become alienated or estranged from the objects of their own labor and thus, from their own esence (species being).
Displacement of peoples things from one context to another.
Barbarian or savage (Hobbes)
Man left in his natural state leads a life that is "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short."
Cabinet of Curiosities
Cabinets proving of contact and knowledge of other people far from oneself.

Classical: any good or service offered as a product for sale on the market.

Characteristics: economic value (quantity and labor) and economic exchange creates value.  

Cultural Embeddedness
Understood as the way in which objects and practices are dependent on cultural context for their meaning.
Exchange Value
A commodity may be traded for other commodities, and thus give its ownerthe benefit of others' labor.

Cultural forms, including art, are constantly changing incorportating new elements. 

Samburu swords?

Indian dances-use coke bottles as ankle jangle. 


The process of production of meaning, signs, and values in social life.

Ideology shapes meaning.

A body of ideas characteristic of a particular social group.

Action oriented sets of beliefs. 

Identified wi

Industrial Revolution
The idea of the "noble savage" takes on added currency during this time becase...
Life group

Where objects can only be understoodin their cultural context (relativism) not only culture but the objects too.

Displays comprised of mannequins doing some task. 

Material Culture
Refers to object that both express and actively shape the meanings, values, and practices, and beliefs of a society.
Emerged in the mid-19th century Western Europeand exploded the next century. Rooted in the ideas that tradional form of art, lit, faith, soc org and daily life had become outdated.
Mulitilineal evolution
The feeling now is that societies cannot be placed on a continuum. We all move in our own way to perfection.
Noble savage (Rousseau)
posited a humanity that was unencumbered by civilization. 18th century lacked the nature, passion, instinct, emotion, and mysticism of non western peoples.

Marx distinguishes man from non man.

Non man has life activity in that they produce only for survival (instinct).

Man is creative and make life activity/labor is the object of his will. 

Man makes his own world 


Set of representational conventions inspired by non western art and artifacts.

Tried to find what they were missing in other parts of the world.


Regimes of Value
Set of cultural values that determine the interpretation of an object in a particular setting.
Ideology of interpretation that attepts to acknowledge different systems of value, especially "local" systems within which objects, ritual or belief is produced. 
Returning of objects to their points of origin.
Typological tradition

Museums could map and represent the evolutionary stages of man.

Pitt Rivers

Compare to geographical display 

Unilineal evolution
Victorian anthropologists believed that different people represented different stages in humanity's march toward perfection.
Use Value

Part of economic exchange.

Satisfy some human need or want (physical or ideal)

Social use value where the object is not just useful to the producer but has use for others.

Objects not commodities may have use value (ex: love). 

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