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January 26 , 2010

The Material Life of Human Beings

Artifacts, Behavior and Communication


In this ground-breaking work, the distinguished anthropological theorist, Michael Brian Schiffer, presents a profound challenge to the social sciences. Through a broad range of examples, he demonstrates how theories of behaviour and communication have too often ignored the fundamental importance of objects in human life.
In The Material Life of Human Beings, the author builds upon the premise that the most important feature of human life is not language but the relationships which take place between people and objects. The author shows that artifacts are involved in all modes of human communication - be they visual, auditory or tactile. By creatively folding elements of postmodernist thought into a scientific framework, he creates new concepts and models for understanding and analysing communication and behavior. Challenging established theories within the social sciences, Michael Brian Schiffer offers a reassessment of the centrality of materiality to everyday life.

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