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Reading Material Culture: Structuralism, Hermeneutics and Post-structuralism (Social Archaeology) Paperback – 5 Feb 1991


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From the Back Cover

Central to any understanding of the significance of material objects, whether contemporary or prehistoric, is a discussion of the very nature of interpretation itself: how we ′read′ artefacts and inscribe them into the present. This book examines the complex relations between material culture, social structures and social practices from structuralist, hermeneutical and post–structuralist viewpoints.

Reading Material Culture explores this interpretative process though examinations of the work of outstanding contemporary thinkers, focusing on Roland Barthes, Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Clifford Geertz, Claude Lévi–Strauss and Paul Ricoeur. It is considers their contributions to understanding past and present social worlds and the role of material–culture production and use within them. Among the themes discussed are the nature of time and history; discourse and textuality; the problem of subjectivity; and the politics of academic production. Each chapter concludes with an assessment of the theorists relevance to the future of material–culture studies in the 1990s. These essays challenge many of our fundamental preconceptions about language, society and the material world we inhabit. Transcending disciplinary boundaries, this book will be indispensable reading for students and specialist in archaeology, anthropology, literary criticism, and cultural and media studies.

About the Author

Christopher Tilly is Lecturer in Archaeology at St. David′s University College, Lampeter, and was formerly Lecturer in Anthropology at University College, London. He is the author of several books, most recently (with Michael Shanks) Social Theory and Archaeology (1987) and (with Daniel Miller and Michael Rowlands) Domination and Resistance (1989).

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