Stuff / Edition 1

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"Things make us as much as we make things. And yet, unlike the study of languages or places, there is no discipline devoted to the study of material things. This book shows why it is time to acknowledge and confront this neglect and how much we can learn from focusing our attention on stuff." "The book opens with a critique of the concept of superficiality as applied to clothing. It presents the theories that are required to understand the way we are created by material as well as social relations. It takes us inside the very private worlds of our home possessions and our processes of accommodating. It considers issues of materiality in relation to the media, as well as the implications of such an approach in relation, for example, to poverty. Finally, the book considers objects which we use to define what it is to be alive and how we use objects to cope with death." Based on more than thirty years of research in the Caribbean, India, London and elsewhere, Stuff is nothing less than a manifesto for the study of material culture and a new way of looking at the objects that surround us and make up so much of our social and personal life.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Miller deftly displays a talent for the uncluttered presentationof ideas,largely eschewing complexity without compromising theintegrity of his arguments. By constantly placing his fieldworkcentre-stage, Miller allows the empirical realities of ethnographyto bolster his key proposals and repeatedly encourages readers toquestion and reflect upon material culture and their relationshipswith their own ‘stuff'".
Journal of the Anthropological Society of Oxford

"[Stuff] really is a little gem. Timely, well-written andhighly accessible, it is a concise and grounded resource in thestruggle to analyse the complexities of contemporary cultural life... For undergraduates and general critical readers alike, it willbe a welcome and thought-provoking reminder that the material worldof things we have created, and which in turn helps to create us,needs to be understood dialectically - for better and forworse."
Times Higher Education

"[T]here are fascinating things here: a seven-page descriptionof how a woman who wears a sari navigates daily life through thegarment; a portrait of council tenants as "artists" redecoratingtheir flats in different ways; and analyses of fashion, furnishingand "mobile phone relationships" in Jamaica. When Miller is focusedon the details, the writing hums with empathetic colour anddetail."
The Guardian

"This is a unique book that comes from a unique scholar. In thisone volume, one can see the power of material culture as a means tostudy culture and society more generally. The specifics areinformative and the larger formulations profound. The writing isconsistently clear - at times, endearing - and the contentbrilliant."
Harvey Molotch, New York University

"This book fizzes and sparkles with ideas and intelligence.Professor Miller develops his dialectical theory of materialculture with enviable clarity. Readers are encouraged by hiscaptivating style and lightly-worn scholarship to the frontiers ofthe subject: they will never look at their stuff in the same wayagain."
Ray Pahl, University of Essex

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780745644233
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 12/22/2009
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 220
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Daniel Miller is Professor of Anthropology at University College London and one of the leading anthropologists in the world today. His particular interest is in the study of material culture.

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Table of Contents

Prologue: My Life as an Extremist 1

1 Why Clothing is not Superficial 12

2 Theories of Things 42

3 Houses: Accommodating Theory 79

4 Media: Immaterial Culture and Applied Anthropology 110

5 Matter of Life and Death 135

Notes 157

Index 165

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Customer Reviews

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