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Material Culture and Technology in Everyday Life

Vannini, Phillip (ed.)

Material Culture and Technology in Everyday Life

Ethnographic Approaches

Series: Intersections in Communications and Culture - Volume 25

Year of Publication: 2009

New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2009. XIV, 253 pp., num. ill.
ISBN 978-1-4331-0301-8 pb.  (Softcover)
ISBN 978-1-4331-0302-5 hardback  (Hardcover)

Weight: 0.390 kg, 0.860 lbs

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Book synopsis

Focusing on the technoculture of everyday life, this book attempts to zero in on the simplicity and the habitual character of the interaction between humans and material objects, which is often assumed or taken for granted. Because objects are always meaningful in the pragmatic use to which they are directed, the material world of everyday life can be seen as a technoculture of its own – one made of behaviors as simple, and yet as significant, as using a lawnmower, or decorating one’s body. In discussing the unique methodological components of the ethnography of the technoculture of everyday life, this book begins a dialogue on how we can examine – from the participants’ perspective – the interconnections between social agents, their technological/material practices, their material objects or technics, and their social and material environment.


Contents: Eugene Halton: Preface – Phillip Vannini: Introduction – Phillip Vannini: Material Culture Studies and the Sociology and Anthropology of Technology – Grant Kein: Actor-Network Theory: Translation as Material Culture – Trevor Pinch: The Social Construction of Technology (SCOT): The Old, the New, and the Nonhuman – Ian Woodward: Material Culture and Narrative: Fusing Myth, Materiality, and Meaning – Phillip Vannini: Material Culture and Technoculture as Interaction – Mélanie Roustan: From Embodied Ethnography to the Anthropology of Material Culture: Gaming in the Field – Chaim Noy: On Driving a Car and Being a Family: An Autoethnography – Dylan Tutt/Jon Hindmarsh: The Screen Deconstructed: Video-Based Studies of the Malleable Screen – Tanfer Emin Tunc: Technologies of Consumption: The Social Semiotics of Turkish Shopping Malls – Ingrid Richardson/Amanda Third: Cultural Phenomenology and the Material Culture of Mobile Media – Ariane Hanemaayer: A Grounded Theory Approach to Engaging Technology on the Paintball Field – Chris Tilley: What Gardens Mean – Bryce Merrill: Making It, Not Making It: Creating Music in Everyday Life – Patrick Laviolette: The Death of the Clinic: Domestic Medical Sensoring – Tina Peterson: The Zapper and the Zapped: Microwave Ovens and the People Who Use Them.

About the author(s)/editor(s)

The Editor: Phillip Vannini is Associate Professor of Communication and Culture at Royal Roads University in Canada. He holds a Master of Arts in communication and a Ph.D. in sociology from Washington State University. Co-author of Understanding Society Through Popular Music (2009), and co-editor of Body/Embodiment: Symbolic Interactionism and the Sociology of the Body (2006) and Authenticity in Culture, Self, and Society (2009), Vannini has published over forty journal articles and book chapters on such topics as qualitative research methodology, material culture, the sociology of the body, technology, popular culture, and interactionist theory.


«This exciting new collection of essays brings together writing by sociologists, anthropologists, and cultural and media analysts around the core theme of the materiality of everyday life. A variety of perspectives including those of technology, actor-network theory, and phenomenology are brought to bear on a range of different material stuffs that feature in ordinary lives such as screens, cars, gardens, mobile phones, and music recorders. This is a thought-provoking book that will provide inspiration and ideas for all researchers and students who are interested in the social consequences of the things that surround us.» (Tim Dant, Reader in Sociology, University of Lancaster, United Kingdom)


Intersections in Communications and Culture: Global Approaches and Transdisciplinary Perspectives. Vol. 25
General Editors: Cameron McCarthy and Angharad N. Valdivia