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The thesis of this book is that securities fraud became a threat to the integrity of public companies as markets increasingly valued them based on projections of their future earnings. It became important for companies to consistently validate prior forecasts of their profitability to maintain their stock price. This created a systemic incentive for corporate managers to manipulate market perceptions of their company’s earnings potential. The Sarbanes–Oxley Act of 2002 (Sarbanes–Oxley) was an attempt to address this incentive by requiring all public companies to invest in measures that prevent financial misstatements. The law governing Rule 10b-5 developed as private investors and the SEC increasingly scrutinized whether misleading corporate narratives of the future were motivated by fraudulent intent.
The Classical house can be understood also as a set of interactions between people, objects and valuable commodities that existed within and extended beyond the physical and temporal confines of the house. This chapter concerns ceramic oil jars, lekythoi, that date to the early 5th century BCE. It is argued that the small black-figured lekythoi, which were prolifically produced and widely traded during this time, may have held olive oil, not just perfume. The materiality of these pots and archaeological evidence from settlements, graves and other find-spots suggest that lekythoi could have functioned as oil pitchers to serve small portions of olive oil, perhaps of family production. Vase iconography indicates that such lekythoi were objects within easy reach, to be used on diverse occasions, such as dining, ritual and commercial activities. The offering of lekythoi in burials, irrespective of the presence of contents, could have alluded to the storage of olive oil in the household of the deceased and communicated a powerful message about a family’s claims to status, real or fictitious.
This article investigates the international genre of “retro” and how it is used in Hungary to re-matter the nation’s modern past, repositioning the country within a twentieth-century European history where it was never cut off by an “Iron Curtain” from the modern West. It does this by selecting for modern consumer goods and popular culture from both East and West that fit international criteria for retro. For both young and old, retro “matters” the past in a way that affirms contemporary market sensibilities, infusing it with value through assertions of market equivalence in the past and new value as commodities in the present. If Hungarian Retro works as a form of nostalgia for some, it is for an era of perceived national prestige, value, and economic sovereignty relative to the demoralized present. While distinct from right-wing nationalist politics, Hungarian Retro nonetheless shares in the project of erasing a stigmatized state socialism from national history. This article builds on scholarship on the role of the material in producing the nation in everyday life. It contributes a perspective that brings together: (a) the domestication of international commercial and popular trends; (b) the global hierarchy of prestige based on national exports and imports; and (c) the constitution of value in citizens via the qualities of consumer goods both produced and consumed.
Material culture “represents” and “re-presents” people, places, other objects, taste, soundscapes, etc., in meaningful ways. Some forms of material culture exist specifically to represent or re-present; other forms involve representation more or less across time and over space and cultures. This chapter surveys how scholars from diverse backgrounds have treated “representation” and “re-presentation” in and of material culture, with a focus on literary representations.
This chapter on engagement and authority explores the role of material culture in negotiations of power, in gifting, as regulatory tools, and as modes or tools of empowerment and connection or conversely, dispossession and exclusion. The chapter is inspired and informed by the author’s work on heritage projects in South America.
How does conflict (both enacted and potential) change, shape, destroy and otherwise modify and affect material culture? In addition to these questions, this chapter examines how “things” can act as propaganda, as mechanisms of survival, and as creations of the destabilizing and stabilizing effects of war, peace, and the gray area in between. As scholars increasingly interrogate the meaning and chronology of war, peace, occupation, and the definition of categories such as refugee, how do they incorporate material culture?
How is the material world affected by place? How does an urban, suburban, or rural environment shape spaces, the built environment, and the form and use of objects? Why does this matter? This chapter explores siting and location as important factors in understanding the material world. The chapter also addresses the concepts of non-place and repulsive places.
The study of materiality and religion incorporates spaces, equipment, dress, and other material expressions of belief. The study of material religion and spirituality has taken a truly interdisciplinary turn in scholarship and this chapter explores currents in scholarship that embrace a material approach to understanding lived religion, organized practices, as well as religious opposition and conflict.
Schools, hospitals, prisons, and other institutions shape physical experiences and act as organizational entities for many material endeavors. This chapter examines how institutions shape how we interact with material worlds.
In the context of globalization, post-modernity and transnationalism, identity, for most people, is no longer securely located in specific material environments. Yet the desire to 'ground' identity in place by acting in and on the material world remains, even as people shift between multiple locations. This chapter focuses considerson the materiality of identity, and on the relationship between agency, identity and place. It focuses particularly on place-based communities, for whom this relationship is fundamental, and who therefore exemplify the centrality of place in composing identity.
This chapter introduces readers to conceptions of matter and materiality that shape current conversations in material culture studies, sensitive to the rise of object biographies, commodity histories, fetishism, the new materialism, and the “multispecies” or “ontological” turn in anthropology.
The article focuses on how low and lower-middle class youth employed in new private sector jobs in the booming service economy in Indian cities engage with the material environment of their workplace, and how, through their ‘aesthetic scrutiny’ of its materiality, come to ‘consume’ work. The setting is the store floor of a fast-expanding organized retail company, called Spexy, that sells budget eyewear products. Through ethnographic elaboration, the article follows how the Spexy staff deride the ‘un-branded’ products, ‘un-technical’ equipment, and ‘un-professional’ uniforms at their workplace. The company, as constituted of these ‘poor’ materials, is mocked for failing in its ‘company-ness’ and branded ‘fake’. The material environment of the workplace provides a platform for the articulation of larger configurations of ‘feelings’ the youth seek to give and get through formal employment in a private company. These articulations, in turn, reveal larger sociocultural valuations regarding ideas of social mobility and visibility in contemporary India where there is a strong interest in brand regimes and brand value hierarchies, fixation with technological education and expertise, and attraction towards a corporate work culture in the private sector, and, concomitantly, a strong desire amongst the store staff to craft branded, technical, and professional work identities. By putting the scholarship on work and consumption in dialogue, the article demonstrates how bottom-rung urban workers look expectantly to the material environment of company work to fulfil these desires.
This chapter ranges widely through the decades of DeLillo’s output, drawing out DeLillo’s prioritizing of the visceral over the cerebral, and offering a counter to the wealth of existing criticism that places DeLillo in conversation with abstract, theoretical concepts.
Material culture studies is an interdisciplinary field that examines the relationships between people and their things: the production, history, preservation, and interpretation of objects. It draws on theory and practice from disciplines in the social sciences and humanities, such as anthropology, archaeology, history, and museum studies. Written by leading international scholars, this Handbook provides a comprehensive view of developments, methodologies and theories. It is divided into five broad themes, embracing both classic and emerging areas of research in the field. Chapters outline transformative moments in material culture scholarship, and present research from around the world, focusing on multiple material and digital media that show the scope and breadth of this exciting field. Written in an easy-to-read style, it is essential reading for students, researchers and professionals with an interest in material culture.
With personal information an overt ‘site of struggle’ in contemporary politics, how do non-state actors gather data but also craft their authority to do so? This chapter shifts the site of Informational Relations spatially, away from the lofty ‘international’, as well as temporally, to earlier in this chain of events. The authority of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to gather data is often treated as antecedent, but collecting Others’ information and acting as repositories are themselves invocations of authority. While a key driver of this book has been the importance of ideas in crafting everyday authority, legitimation’s material consequences are highly conspicuous in this process of gathering information: it is a core NGO ‘currency’. This chapter focuses on the collection of data, whereby the authority of NGOs is instantiated through acts of monitoring and verification, both laterally with respect to peers and vertically to communities. It pits NGO against NGO; NGO against local government; village volunteers against their leaders and peers. NGOs thus find themselves enmeshed within a complex informational ecosystem that is truly global. Given the clear fungibility of information, the gathering of data proved one of the most contentious legitimation practices.
Chapter 3 is about the social and semiotic mediation of experiential grounds. In particular, the way people interrelate the dimensions and degrees of their sensations and instigations, or experience and action. It offers a continuous time semiotics of such processes and uses this to critique widespread notions of materiality, as well as to better theorize the notion of affordances. It builds a bridge between ecological theories of perception and pragmatist notions of meaning.
What counts as too close for comfort? How can an entire room suddenly feel restless at the imminence of a yet unknown occurrence? And who decides whether or not we are already in an age of unliveable extremes? The anthropology of intensity studies how humans encounter and communicate the continuous and gradable features of social and environmental phenomena in everyday interactions. Focusing on the last twenty years of life in a Mayan village in the cloud forests of Guatemala, this book provides a natural history of intensity in exceedingly tense times, through a careful analysis of ethnographic and linguistic evidence. It uses intensity as a way to reframe Anthropology in the age of the Anthropocene, and rethinks classic work in the formal linguistic tradition from a culture-specific and context-sensitive stance. It is essential reading not only for anthropologists and linguists, but also for ecologically oriented readers, critical theorists, and environmental scientists.
The prologue provides an introduction to the history of Ichijōdani, as well as an overview of the three primary methodological interventions of the book. It reviews the scholarly literature on medieval urban life in Japan and explains this study’s distinctive contributions. The chapter also provides details on the theoretical literature in material culture studies and their articulations in this book. The Prologue ends with a discussion of ruins and the emphasis this study places on the violent destruction of Ichijōdani as a central and defining feature of the site.
The rich body of literature on the cultural legacies of East Germany has privileged white German perspectives on material culture at the expense of non-white and non-European encounters with socialist things. In shifting the spatial lens to the global South, and to the foreign students and workers who lived for extended periods in East Germany, I trouble the implicit whiteness in the study of GDR cultural memory. Popular identification with GDR goods extended beyond the borders of Germany to newly decolonized countries that were the beneficiaries of the GDR’s solidarity policies. Using the example of Vietnam, I challenge formulations of Ostalgie as a site of white German memory production only, highlighting consumption of East German products by racialized foreign Others. In examining the objects that Vietnamese migrants amassed and transported back to Vietnam, and their subsequent use and circulation through today, I offer a different take on the temporal and spatial relationship between people and commodities, one that assigns value and agency to imported socialist things. In contrast to reunified Germany, where socialist-era goods were deemed disposable and obsolete, in Vietnam, East German products did not lose their utility and associations with modernity. The essay argues for a more inclusive exploration of memory and approach to Ostalgie that takes seriously the alternative logics of time, space, and materiality that informed the circuits of consumption, trade, and meaning of GDR things.
The Japanese provincial city of Ichijōdani was destroyed in the civil wars of the late sixteenth century but never rebuilt. Archaeological excavations have since uncovered the most detailed late medieval urban site in the country. Drawing on analysis of specific excavated objects and decades of archaeological evidence to study daily life in Ichijōdani, Reading Medieval Ruins in Sixteenth-Century Japan illuminates the city's layout, the possessions and houses of its residents, its politics and experience of war, and religious and cultural networks. Morgan Pitelka demonstrates how provincial centers could be dynamic and vibrant nodes of industrial, cultural, economic, and political entrepreneurship and sophistication. In this study a new and vital understanding of late medieval society is revealed, one in which Ichijôdani played a central role in the vibrant age of Japan's sixteenth century.