Category Archives: Material Culture

Coursenotes: SOCI/ANTH 441 Meeting 7

SOCI/ANTH 441 Material Culture

Week 7, October 15 2014

Core Texts: Ylimaunu and Vilar Rosales

Joint Wordcloud


Ylimaunu Wordcloud


mirrors, street, towns, gossip, century, surveillance, control, urban, swedish, modern, finland, streets, town, finnish, sweden, space, power, monitoring, residents, private, local, communities, monitored, monitor, windows, spaces, observation, neighbours, museum, window, state, panoptic, object, material, gossiping, person, mirror, institutional, individuality, church, authorities, architecture


Anderson, Classen, Foucault, Gluckman, Habermas, Ingold, Leone, Simmel, Stoller

Vilar Rosales

Vilar Rosales Wordcloud


home, domestic, migration, material, practices, objects, consumption, homes, processes, miller, materiality, house, migrations, routines, mozambique, place, physical, contexts, movements, houses, lisbon, furniture


Appadurai, Birdwell-Pheasant, Bourdieu, Douglas, Gell, Gupta, Hannerz, Howes, Kopytoff, Lévi-Strauss, Marcoux, Marx, Miller, Rapport, Simmel, Woodward

Coursenotes SOCI/ANTH 441 Material Culture, Week 6

SOCI/ANTH 441 Material Culture

Week 6, October 8 2014
Phase II


Part I

  • Due at midnight
  • Feedback to buildup
  • Keep on going on

Parts II and III

Doing sociology and/or anthropology from object

Pretty Open

  • Can be straight up “paper”
  • Can be creative
  • Can be ethnographic
  • Can be experimental
  • Can be content-based
  • Can be quantitative


  • Academic literature
  • Cite, quote, pay lipservice, and dig deeper
  • Notice patterns
  • Academic dialogue
  • Still empirical

Material Culture as Field

  • Sociology and/or anthropology
  • STS, SCoT, ANT, affordances, consumer culture, sociology of art, taste, archæology, folkloristics, cultural studies, sociomateriality, museum studies, art history, politics of artefacts, sensory anthropology…
  • Assemblage, bricolage, mix, blend

Part II: Presentation

  • More than “show and tell”
  • Sharing
  • Working together
  • Peer-learning
  • May be small group
  • Schedule soon

Core Texts: Prell and Van Osch

  • Case studies
  • Methodology and approaches
  • SCoT on actors and sociomateriality through affordances
  • Less about physical objects
  • Even nonmaterial artefacts (words, software)


Prell Wordcloud

technology, technological, actors, design, scot, frame, bijker, community, artifact, semiotic, frames, material

Van Osch

Van Osch Wordcloud

affordances, application, generativity, artifact, interactions, applications, visualization, material, artifacts, sociomateriality, sociomaterial, generative, generation, actors

SOCI/ANTH 441 Coursenotes, Week 5

Pickering WordCloud


Pickering, Lucy (2010) “Toilets, Bodies, Selves: Enacting Composting as Counterculture in Hawai’i”, Body & Society 16(4): 33–55, doi:10.1177/1357034X10383882.

Pickering as Corpus

Distinctive words

toilets (83), toilet (67), composting (31), state (31), water (29).

Selected Terms

Toilets, toilet, composting, state, bodies, water, faeces, body, waste, defecation, urine, dirt, matter, flush, urination, sewers, land, bathrooms, sewer, plumbed, urinating, soil, rejection, home, drop, critique, trees, shit, modern, homes, compost, clean, bodily, sewage, self, privacy, polluting, pee, interior, food, covered, technology, embodied, electricity, waste, tree, technologies, plumbing, plastic, outside, enacting, enacted, dirty, buckets, sites, purified, porous, pollution, plants, nitrogen, materiality, material, leaky, grow, flows, faecal, excrement, enactment, dirt, defecate, closets, cannabis, zizek, venice, unclean, shavings, porousness, pipe, pipes, permeable, organic, materials, lavatories, houses, gardening, fertilizer, excretions, excremental, environment, enactments, dug, design, defecating, contamination, closet, civilization, water-heavy, tub, supermodern, stall, squat, sprays, solid, smells, shallow, septic, selves, scoop, rejected, recycling, receptacles, porcelain, places, placedness, outfalls, outdoors, nutrients, modern’, modernity’, leakiness, lava, indoor, hand-built, growth, goods, gallon, fruit, foods, flushed, fluids, floor, fissure, farmers, exuviae, exposed, expelled, excreta, encountering, embody, drainage, dirty, digestive, defecatory, decorated, cup, crochet, covers, coffee, clean’, cleanliness, cleaned, caravans, beans, rejecting, modernity, anti-modern

Themes and Threads

  • Waste and dirt beyond Douglas
  • Matter, substance
  • Environment, nature, space, sites, location
  • Body, embodiment, enactment
  • Toilet technology
  • (Super/Hyper/Liquid)Modern state
  • Cultural diversity

Suggested Complements

  • Postcolonial Studies 5(2)
  • Gordon, B. (2003) “Embodiment, Community Building, and Aesthetic Saturation in ‘Restroom World,’ a Backstage Women’s Space” Journal of American Folklore 116(462): 444–464, DOI:10.1353/jaf.2003.0061
  • Kundera, M. (1984) The Unbearable Lightness of Being. London: Faber and Faber.
  • Douglas, M. (1966) Purity and Danger: An Analysis of the Concepts of Pollution and Taboo. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.
  • Žižek, S. (1997) The Plague of Fantasies. London: Verso.
  • Mol, A. and J. Law (2004) ‘Embodied Action, Enacting Bodies: The Example of Hypoglycaemia’, Body & Society 10(2–3): 43–62.

Coursenotes: SOCI/ANTH 441, Week 4

Griswold et al.

Griswold, Wendy, Gemma Mangione, and Terence E. McDonnell. “Objects, Words, and Bodies in Space: Bringing Materiality into Cultural Analysis.” Qualitative Sociology 36, no. 4 (December 1, 2013): 343–64. doi:10.1007/s11133–013–9264–6.


Wordcloud for Griswold et al. 2013
Wordcloud for Griswold et al. 2013

Distinctive Words

art (78), objects (67), museum (37), position (36), exhibition (30)

Selected Words

art, objects, museum, position, visitors, exhibition, work, material, labels, physical, materiality, location, object, experience, space, bodies, museums, sculpture, interaction, distance, label, gallery, viewers, meaning-making, corridor, audiences, interactions, encounter, curators, sts, shape, floor, exhibitions, actors, wall, viewer, legibility, interact, green, artworks, ant, actants, presuppositions, non-human, light, latour, cognition, affordances, visitor, interpret, exhibit, dance, create, attention, agency, spaces, shapes, guides, game, encounters, arcangels, sculptures, room, orientation, network, mediating, locate, interplay, installations, hand, ground, golf, focus, environments, engagement, desk, curatorial, bodily, akrich, actor-network, positions, photographs, photo, pedestal, ledger, hennion, galleries, cues, body, artwork, arrangement, perceptible, orient, observing, nudes, materials, laboratory, interacts, gibson, eyes, encountering, emplacement, embedded, elevator, design, cueing, cue, collection, choreography, bourdieu, audio-guide, arrangements, agents, affords, afford, affect



  • From sociology of science to cultural sociology
  • Actor-Network Theory
  • Social Construction of Technology


  • Museum Studies
  • Curatorial work
  • Visitor Studies
  • Position and location
  • Arts


  • Perception
  • Meaning-making
  • Disposition
  • Inter-individual

Selected References

Akrich, Appadurai, Becker, Bijker, Bourdieu, Callon, de la Fuente, DeNora, Gell, Gibson, Hebdige, Hennion, Hetherington, Keane, Knorr-Cetina, Latour, Law, Lynch, Pinch, Prior

Coursenotes: SOCI/ANTH 441 Week 3 (Draft)

Wordcloud for Bates 2012
Wordcloud for Bates 2012
Word trends in Bates 2012
Word trends in Bates 2012

Baglama turc manche long.jpg
Baglama turc manche long“. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Bates Terms

objects, material, makers, wood, construction, agency, bowl, organology, object, networks, meanings, body, golem, woods, mulberry, things, strings, museum, making, maker, fabrika, chestnut, workshop, tool, museums, matter, kinesthesis, tools, thing-power, sts, production, network, embodiment, clay, classification, atölye, articulated, workshops, trees, string, spruce, sensoriums, r-making, pinch, organograms, neighborhood, materials, latour, kinesthetics, kinesthetic, houses, homes, craft, conservatories, carving, assemblages, assemblage, agentive, actor-network, actants, tree, saz-making, saz-maker, lyra-makers, households, hardwoods, handtools, embodied, classificatory, classifications, violin-maker, tanbur-making, networksthe, music-making, maker-customer, instrument-maker, house, fruitwoods, factory, factories, embodies, classify, atölye-like, articulate, actor-networks


Material Culture


  • Appadurai
  • Gell
  • Latour
  • Vannini
  • Woodward


  • Bijker
  • Callon
  • Law
  • Miller
  • Pinch
  • Riggins
  • Straw

Music and Organology

  • Barz
  • Berliner
  • DeVale
  • Dournon
  • Hood
  • Hornbostel
  • Kartomi
  • Qureshi
  • Rice
  • Sachs


  • Melville
  • Proulx

SOCI/ANTH 441 – Material Culture – Week 2: September 10, 2014

SOCI/ANTH 441/2A – Material Culture

Week 2: September 10, 2014


  • Project
  • DiSalvo
  • Magaudda
  • Library session

Working Together


Have you thought about an object?

Part I: Description (October 8)

Questions to ask (of) the object

Object Phenomenology

  • What is it?
  • What are its features?
  • What are its parts, components, materials?
  • How does it feel, smell, sound, look, or even taste?
  • How can it be characterized, categorized, typologized?
  • How is it made, built?

Object Life

  • What is its history?
  • Who has made it, transformed it, distributed it?
  • When was it made?
  • What are its antecedents, ancestors, prerequisites?
  • Where does it come from?
  • Where is it heading?

Object Value

  • What does it mean, represent, signify?
  • What is it worth, to whom?
  • How does it compare to similar objects?
  • What can it do, how can it be used?
  • What does it afford?

Dumit’s Dimensions

  • symbolic, labor, professional, material, technological, political, economic, textual, bodily, historical
  • context, educational, political, mythological, symbolic, labor, professional, material, technological, economic, textual, bodily

Past Week: DiSalvo

Core Text

What did you notice?

Complementary Texts

Other angles on DiSalvo?

Next Week: Magaudda

Magaudda WordCloud

WordCloud for Magaudda

Magaudda Terms

music, practices, practice, consumption, digital, material, objects, ipod, materiality, process, changes, cultural, consumer, circuit, change, object, devices, listening, digitalization, processes, meanings, personal, appropriation, technologies, reconfiguration, dematerialization, sense, listeners, experience, integration, adoption, technology, records, record, gift, computer, performative, culture, articulation, players, formats, consumers, transformation, sts, shift, portable, obsolete, materialities, experiences, everyday, embodied, diffusion, values, value, interviews, emergence, cultures, connected, accessories, adaptation


  • Digital economy (Anderson)
  • Anthropology of consumption (McCracken)
  • STS: Science and Technology Studies (Bijker, Pinch…)
  • ANT: Actor-Network Theory (Latour, Callon, Law)

Further Context

  • Immaterial vs. material
  • Commodification of music
  • Practices and objects
  • Appropriation
  • Circuit of practice

Complementary Texts

  • Texts cited by Magaudda (Bijker, Dant, Douglas, Kopytoff, Latour, Miller, Orlikowski, Pinch, Ritzer, Shove, Vannini)
  • Texts citing Magaudda

SOCI/ANTH 441 – Material Culture – Week 1 (September 3, 2014)

SOCI/ANTH 441/2A – Material Culture

Week 1: September 3, 2014
Alex Enkerli

Course Outline

SOCI/ANTH 441 – Material Culture – Course Outline (PDF)


  • Getting acquainted
  • Discuss project
  • Discuss work with texts

Next Week

Meeting in the Library

  • Meeting in LB 203
  • Before class: create account on Zotero or RefWorks
  • Core text: DiSalvo
  • Complementary Text

Getting to Know Each Other

Classroom Activity: Our Favourite Things

(You have/had to be there…)


  • Ethnographic disciplines
  • Collaborative learning
  • Informality
  • Less oriented toward material culture

This Seminar

  • History of the course
  • Cross-listed and interdisciplinary
  • Project-based
  • Upper-level
  • Deeper work with texts

Material Culture

  • Nonhuman objects with humans
  • Things, artefacts, stuff, matter, space
  • Physical, concrete, tangible
  • Diverse approaches
  • Includes technology


Doing anthropology and/or sociology with a thing

Three parts

  1. Description of a Thing
  2. Presentation
  3. Final Paper

Actual object, thing, site, material

  • Tangible, concrete, physical
  • Nonhuman
  • As specific as possible (not generic): specimen, item, place
  • May be mundane, everyday, obvious
  • Can repeat
  • Can be an object you create

Start with object

  • Approach will come later
  • Can mix approaches and object
  • Obvious pairings: elevators and stratification, exercise
    equipment and group membership

Part I: Description (October 8)

  • Physical characteristics
  • Sensory dimensions
  • Genealogy
  • Biography
  • Lifecycle
  • Not encyclopedic

Part II: “Show & Tell” (November 5–26)

  • Share with the class or with small group
  • Well-informed
  • Connected with the course
  • From “Work in Progress” to Deep Analysis
  • Giving and getting feedback

Part III: Report (December 5)

  • Bring together
  • Case studies
  • Anthropological and/or sociological insight
  • Can be ethnographic (fieldwork, interviews…)
  • Can create object with others
  • Can be creative or artistic
  • Can be experimental

Working with Texts

Core Texts

  • All online (links to PDF files, available on-campus)
  • Diverse
  • Work in depth with each

Complementary Texts

  • Post “One-Liner” (sentence or two) in forum
  • Cited, related, citing
  • Angle, perspective, approach
  • Suggestions
  • Reserved books

Core Texts WordCloud

WordCloud for Core Texts

Core Terms

Network Graph of Terms in Core Texts

List of Core Texts

  • DiSalvo: design (80), politics (33), practice (30), participants
    (22), small-scale (20).
  • Magaudda: music (156), practice (75), practices (78), consumption (70), digital (61).
  • Bates: saz (136), instruments (105), instrument (69), turkish (33), musical (39).
  • Griswold: art (78), objects (67), museum (37), position (36), exhibition (30).
  • Pickering: toilets (83), toilet (67), composting (31), state (31), water (29).
  • Prell: connected (82), kids (62), technology (55), teri (49), jim (47).
  • Van Osch: affordances (74), application (49), group (48), groups (48), generativity (39).
  • Vilar Rosales: home (69), domestic (35), migration (32), contemporary (25), things (30).
  • Ylimaunu: mirrors (74), street (55), towns (39), gossip (38), century (37).
  • Geismar: things (74), materialisation (32), material (50), social (49), oceania (23).
  • Greer: indigenous (70), heritage (66), archaeological (45), people (52), sites (37).

Course Logistics

  • Seminar format
  • Attendance essential
  • Contributions
  • Come prepared: core and complementary texts before class
  • “Prewrite”

Next Week

DiSalvo and “Makers”

  • Short text
  • Digital fabrication (FabLabs, Hackerspaces, Makerspaces…)
  • Design, technology, production
  • Prosumption
  • Collaboration, participation
  • Artefacts and their Politics

DiSalvo WordCloud

WordCloud for DiSalvo

DiSalvo Terms

participants, design, politics, small-scale, prototype, bugbot,
products, technologies, project, artifacts, insects, farming, farmers,
prototyping, designers, growbot, garden, farms, designed, commitments,
political, participatory, sts, industrial, materials, workshop,
technology, product, permaculture, making, farmer, agriculture,
prototypes, robotics, winner’s, artifact, community, agricultural,
winner, tomatoes, sensing, publics, flags, crops, enforce, bridges,
technological, automation, robot, reimagining, pesticides, objects,
object, latour, insect, harvester, dialogic, collaborative, cardboard,
automated, working, tomato, small-business, racist, politicized,
langdon, devices, ecological, conversation, critical, control,
decisions, decision, beaches, doctrine, agency, ag-tech, workers, wire,
trap, toys, things, sustainable, space, small, scrap, robust, robots,
rows, ratto, projects, producing, problematic, plants, plant,
pheromones, participating, participate, owners, materialities,

Complementary Texts


Meeting in the Library

  • Meeting in LB 203
  • Before class: create account on Zotero or RefWorks
  • Core text: DiSalvo
  • Sentence or two about a complementary text