The Material Life of Human Beings: Artifacts, Behavior and by Michael Brian Schiffer

By Michael Brian Schiffer

During this ground-breaking paintings, the celebrated anthropological theorist, Michael Brian Schiffer, provides a profound problem to the social sciences. via a vast diversity of examples, he demonstrates how theories of behaviour and conversation have too usually overlooked the basic significance of gadgets in human life.
within the fabric lifetime of people, the writer builds upon the idea that crucial characteristic of human lifestyles isn't language however the relationships which occur among humans and items. the writer exhibits that artifacts are fascinated with all modes of human communique - be they visible, auditory or tactile. by means of creatively folding parts of postmodernist notion right into a clinical framework, he creates new options and types for knowing and analysing conversation and behaviour. demanding tested theories in the social sciences, Michael Brian Schiffer deals a reassessment of the centrality of materiality to daily life.

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The Material Life of Human Beings: Artifacts, Behavior and Communication

During this ground-breaking paintings, the prestigious anthropological theorist, Michael Brian Schiffer, provides a profound problem to the social sciences. via a vast variety of examples, he demonstrates how theories of behaviour and conversation have too frequently missed the basic value of gadgets in human lifestyles.

Extra info for The Material Life of Human Beings: Artifacts, Behavior and Communication

Example text

Evidently, the “artifact” mode is not comparable to the other communication modes. 1 It appears that investigators have added artifacts to the list of modes in an ad hoc manner. Indeed, by assigning artifacts to a separate mode, communication researchers can, in theory and practice, easily marginalize them. I suggest that segregating artifacts in this way is an unwise move for anyone building a communication theor y that aspires to complete generality. Not sur pr isingly, I maintain that artifacts must be drawn integrally into the consideration of every performance mode.

A property – chemical, physical, biological – is something that, in principle, is intrinsic to an interactor, such as its shape, size, surface texture, chemical composition, molecular structure, cellular structure and organization, color, weight, and density. Thus, a property is defined in terms of the interactor itself (with respect to a measuring instrument and standard scale in the laboratory). In contrast, performance characteristics are defined relationally, for they refer to the capabilities of one interactor in its engagement with another in a specific real-world, not laboratory, interaction.

Personal artifacts include: (1) artifacts that are an actual and essentially permanent part of the human body, such as tattoos, scars, and modified teeth; (2) artifacts that are an actual but temporary part of the human body, including hair style, makeup and body paint, drugs, deodorant and perfume, earrings and noserings; and (3) artifacts that perform as if part of the human body but are very easily attached and detached, such as clothing, headgear, shoes, hair ornaments, necklaces, masks, and badges.

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