Taylor, Janelle S Rutgers University Press, 2004 Library of Congress HQ759.C7253 2004 | Dewey Decimal 306.8743
Consuming Motherhood addresses the provocative question of how motherhood and consumption—as ideologies and as patterns of social action—mutually shape and constitute each other in contemporary North American and European social life. Ideologically, motherhood and consumption are often constructed in opposition to each other, with motherhood standing in as a naturalized social relation that is thought to be uniquely free of the calculating instrumentality that dominates commercial relations. Yet, in social life, motherhood and consumption are inseparable. Whether shopping for children’s clothing or childbirth services, or making decisions about adopting children, becoming a mother (and maternal practice more generally) is deeply influenced by consumption. How can the relationship between motherhood and consumption be revealed, and critically analyzed? Consuming Motherhood brings together a group of sociologists, anthropologists, and religious studies scholars to address this question through carefully grounded ethnographic studies. This insightful book reveals how mothers negotiate the contradictory forces that position them as both immune from and the target of consumerist tendencies in contemporary global society.
The Dialectics of Shopping
Daniel Miller University of Chicago Press, 2001 Library of Congress TX335.M535 2001 | Dewey Decimal 306.34
Shopping is generally considered to be a pleasurable activity. But in reality it can often be complicated and frustrating. Daniel Miller explores the many contradictions faced by shoppers on a typical street in London, and in the process offers a sophisticated examination of the way we shop, and what it reveals about our relationships to our families and communities, as well as to the environment and the economy as a whole.
Miller's companions are mostly women who confront these contradictions as they shop. They placate their children with items that combine nutrition with taste or usefulness with style. They decide between shopping at the local store or at the impersonal, but less expensive, mall. They tell of their sympathy for environmental concerns but somehow avoid much ethical shopping. They are faced with a selection of shops whose shifts and mergers often reveal extraordinary stories of their own. Filled with entertaining—and thoroughly familiar—stories of shoppers and shops, this book will interest scholars across a broad range of disciplines.
Historians have long claimed Czechoslovakia between the world wars as an island of democracy in a sea of dictatorships. The reasons for the survival of democratic institutions in the Czechoslovak First Republic, with its profound divisions, have never been fully explained, partly because for years critical research was thwarted by the communist state. Drawing on information from European archives, Miller pieces together the story of the party and its longtime leader, Antonín Svehla- the "Master of Compromise," who had an extraordinary capacity to mediate between political parties, factions, and individual political leaders. Miller shows how Svehla's official and behind-the-scenes activities in the parliament provided the new state with stability and continuity.
The field of material culture, while historically well established, has recently enjoyed something of a renaissance. Methods once dominated by Marxist- and commodity-oriented analyses and by the study of objects as symbols are giving way to a more ethnographic approach to artifacts. This orientation is the cornerstone of the essays presented in Material Cultures. A collection of case studies which move from the domestic sphere to the global arena, the volume includes examinations of the soundscape produced by home radios, catalog shopping, the role of paper in the workplace, and the relationship between the production and consumption of Coca-Cola in Trinidad.
The diversity of the essays is mediated by their common commitment to ethnography with a material focus. Rather than examine objects as mirages of media or language, Material Cultures emphasizes how the study of objects not only contributes to an understanding of artifacts but is also an effective means for studying social values and contradictions.
Daniel Miller, ed. Duke University Press, 2005 Library of Congress GN406.M38 2005 | Dewey Decimal 306.46
Throughout history and across social and cultural contexts, most systems of belief—whether religious or secular—have ascribed wisdom to those who see reality as that which transcends the merely material. Yet, as the studies collected here show, the immaterial is not easily separated from the material. Humans are defined, to an extraordinary degree, by their expressions of immaterial ideals through material forms. The essays in Materiality explore varied manifestations of materiality from ancient times to the present. In assessing the fundamental role of materiality in shaping humanity, they signal the need to decenter the social within social anthropology in order to make room for the material.
Considering topics as diverse as theology, technology, finance, and art, the contributors—most of whom are anthropologists—examine the many different ways in which materiality has been understood and the consequences of these differences. Their case studies show that the latest forms of financial trading instruments can be compared with the oldest ideals of ancient Egypt, that the promise of software can be compared with an age-old desire for an unmediated relationship to divinity. Whether focusing on the theology of Islamic banking, Australian Aboriginal art, derivatives trading in Japan, or textiles that respond directly to their environment, each essay adds depth and nuance to the project that Materiality advances: a profound acknowledgment and rethinking of one of the basic properties of being human.
Contributors. Matthew Engelke, Webb Keane, Susanne Küchler, Bill Maurer, Lynn Meskell, Daniel Miller, Hirokazu Miyazaki, Fred Myers, Christopher Pinney, Michael Rowlands, Nigel Thrift