The cultural life of objects

Authored by: Claudio E. Benzecry , Fernando Domínguez Rubio

Routledge Handbook of Cultural Sociology

Print publication date:  October  2018
Online publication date:  November  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138288621
eBook ISBN: 9781315267784
Adobe ISBN:


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What do people do with objects? And what do objects do to people? This chapter builds a four-part argument about the weaker and stronger versions of the interrelation between objects and subjects. The first section explores classic approaches to how objects are imbued with special significance, as well as contemporary approaches on attachment and affordances. Then we explore what objects allow us to do, the kinds of subjects they enable us to be, and the kinds of activities they block or enable. We conclude by offering some reflections about what this means for the study of meaning-making and of culture at large.

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