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SOC102H1 (285)
Chapter 8

RS chapter 8.doc

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Lorne Tepperman

Soc 102 RS chapter 8: the bonds of things - Allen Ginsberg tells a story about moving out of university residence then returning to pick up last things - When people are moving out they tend to remember their old home at the end of their stay by paying close attention to its appearance by writing, or photographing it - If you do not make any real or mental snapshots is called the acceptance of transitoriness - In terms of allen saying good bye he jokes that objects are powerful agents that shape us because if not why talk to them? - Contemporary sociologists- they specialize in study of material culture assume people engage in silent dialogues with objects - Objects bind people, generations, and classes symbolizing the kind of people we are or want to be and also help us remember the past - This chapter is all about human interaction with objects - The author of this chapter focuses on domestic artifacts –human environment - Human object interaction is important in several studies called the sociology of consumption , material cultural studies, thing theory , and the socialness of things - The author goes to explain self identity by symbolic interactionsism - He does research and needs photos, interviews and also a sociologists knowledge of history of objects and decoration – so photos are the basic data and interpretation, interview ( helps ask about the personal meaning of a prominent object going steadily) - In interviews its invasive because talking about their possessions is like talking about themselves - Ethical problems can be minimized by concentrating on a few highly symbolic possessions called epiphany objects or evocative objects – which interviewees think represents their taste or social bonds - The alternative approach the researcher also likes is long interviews documenting as many objects as possible - Interviewees are than co-researchers –now they have the right to read the draft versions of the study and control content before prong - His idea is that the same objects can have different meanings deeding on how it is used or understood by people - Domestic artifacts – they tell stories about the self and social relationships and interviewees fall under 2 categories: 1) mapping- is the information provided about the way objects plot their social network and represent their cosmology and ideology 2) Referencing- comments about the history, aesthetics and uses of objects - It’s always known that the interviewees have the power to map while the investigator knows more about referencing - Agency – distinguish between active and passive use of objects –some objects are to be handled while others reflect on it - Intrinsically passive – objects that are contemplate like a poster or a painting - Intrinsically active- objects that are manipulated physically like a corkscrew - However the symbolic treatments may not go with the above statements and thats why we have: - Mode- makes a slight differentiation - Active mode- objects that are touched or moved regardless of intended use - Passive mode- objects are thought irrespective of original intentions (coffee grinder is active object but if a heirloom its mode than is a passive one but remember that intrinsically passive objects like a sculpture can also be treated as a active mode as a paperweight - Normal use and alien use –more narrow concepts than agency and mode because alien refers to non standard use that may vary from objects recycled due to poverty or due to being refashioned for creativity (ashtray being used for putting loose change n is a alien use) or a found object that’s battered displayed as art is alien use - Objects can even be a status indicator called status objects giving info relevant to ranking of people - Esteem objects- the personal self esteem the person achieved in parenthood or marriage or public recognition or gratitude like trophies, greeting cards - Collective objects- domestic artifacts that are national symbols, social movements, signs of voluntary association (family heirloom if the interviewee says
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