Calzephyr (calzephyr77) wrote in bookish,

Understanding Material Culture

I figure I should review Understanding Material Culture since it is my textbook and the only book I have read in the past four months! Interest in material culture has been on the rise for some time, especially as advertising finds new ways to tap into what consumers want. I attend an art college, so understanding the why of persuasion is helpful for me as a poor art student (impression management - buy my art!), visual communications students and those interested in museum collections. In a nut shell, objects have a life of their own and are imbued with much meaning that we often take for granted or are unknown.

Understanding Material Culture is an expensive book given the slim size, and at $65, even the college bookstore clerk tried to dissuade me from buying it new. The audience is academic and an older crowd at that - I laughed in one chapter where the author took pains to explain who Flavour Flav is, but not Groucho Marx or Satchmo. Ian Woodward's tone is often dense and vague at the same time. He assumes that the reader is already well versed in major thinkers such as Barthes, Marx and Baudrillard, which is somewhat of a barrier. Woodward's style is super dry too. There's no sense of enthusiasm for the subject that can really engage a reader. But, I was able to get past this and fortunately my professor complimented the book with her passion for the how and why of objects.
Tags: author: w, genre: non-fiction, review

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