The Social Life of Things

  title={The Social Life of Things},
  author={Arjun Appadurai},
The meaning that people attribute to things necessarily derives from human transactions and motivations, particularly from how those things are used and circulated. The contributors to this volume examine how things are sold and traded in a variety of social and cultural settings, both present and past. Focusing on culturally defined aspects of exchange and socially regulated processes of circulation, the essays illuminate the ways in which people find value in things and things give value to… 

The Use of and Commitment to Goods

In social theory, goods have usually not been included in the social world. However, in the sociology of consumption, they have been seen as mediating social relations and offering opportunities to


Abstract The review engages with three recently published works, which represent a cross-section of different approaches to studying processes related to the material world. The works consider the

Marginal Gains, Market Values, and History

  • S. Berry
  • Economics
    African Studies Review
  • 2007
Abstract: Inspired by Jane Guyer's insights in Marginal Gains (2004) into the distinctive logics and performative repertoires that animate economic life in Africa, this article offers a few

Object Relations in Accounts of Everyday Life

Theories of social practice routinely acknowledge the significance of the material world, arguing that objects have a constitutive role in shaping and reproducing the practices of which daily life is

On multiple agencies: when do things matter?

  • M. Erofeeva
  • Sociology
    Information, Communication & Society
  • 2019
ABSTRACT The late twentieth century sociology began to recognise the performative role of technological artefacts in human lives. These objects enact their non-human agency by actions that human

Twisted Lives: On the Temporality and Materiality of Biographical Presences

People’s biographies are dominated by a multitude of factors. In recent years it has come to a general understanding that people’s life histories are embedded in things just as things are premising


“Flow” is a term that is frequently employed in anthropological discussions of globalization, although little attention has been paid to the word or the presuppositions and history it carries with

The Social Meaning of Money: "Special Monies"

  • V. Zelizer
  • Economics
    American Journal of Sociology
  • 1989
Classic interpretations of the development of the modern world portray money as a key instrument in the rationalization of social life. Money is reductively defined as the ultimate objectifier,



The social construction of reality : a treatise in the sociology of knowledge

A general and systematic account of the role of knowledge in society aimed to stimulate both critical discussion and empirical investigations. This book is concerned with the sociology of 'everything

Peacocks and penguins: the political economy of European cloth and colors

This paper relates color symbolism in European dress to the historical geography of textile manufacturing and dyeing, dating back to the Middle Ages. Its central concern is the widespread use of

Commerce in the Dark Ages: A Critique of the Evidence

When Pirenne contributed an article entitled ‘Mahomet et Charlemagne’ to the first issue of the Revue Belge de Philologie et d'Histoire in 1922, he can have little realized how the ideas he there put

Gifts and commodities

C A Gregory's Gifts and Commodities is one of the undisputed classics of economic anthropology. On its publication in 1982, it spurred intense, ongoing debates about gifts and gifting, value,

The Devil and Commodity Fetishism in South America

In this classic book, Michael Taussig explores the social significance of the devil in the folklore of contemporary plantation workers and miners in South America. Grounding his analysis in Marxist

No Place of Grace: Antimodernism and the Transformation of American Culture 1880-1920

In 1782, Goethe spoke of his fear that at some point in the future, “the world will have turned into one huge hospital where everyone is everyone else's humane nurse.” Recently, Rieff and Lasch have

The Commercial Revolution of the Middle Ages, 950-1350.

Professor Robert Lopez provides an incisive analysis of the economic structure of the Middle Ages. He makes use of modern economic concepts to explain how an underdeveloped economic system gave birth

Crime and Custom in Savage Society

Bronislaw Malinowski achieved international recognition as the founder of "functionalism" in social anthropology, based on his studies of Melanesian society on the Trobriand Islands off New Guinea.

Cultural Foundations Of Industrial Civilization

The Credential Society: An Historical Sociology of Education and Stratification

Preface to the Legacy Edition Foreword, by Tressie M. Cottom Foreword, by Mitchell L. Stevens 1. The Myth of Technocracy 2. Organizational Careers 3. The Political Economy of Culture 4. The United