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How Materials Matter
Design, Innovation and Materiality in the Pacific
212 pages, 19 illus., bibliog., index
ISBN 978-1-78920-201-4 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (March 2019)
eISBN 978-1-78920-202-1 eBook
“…a wonderful contribution to the expanding and exciting field of material culture studies. With its particular regional focus, it is also a novel addition to the anthropology of the Pacific. A beautifully printed book.” • Anthropos
“The book is a welcome and novel addition to the anthropology of the Pacific through its exploration of the dynamics of materials and sociality, while also introducing readers to the realities of working with digital renderings of heritage.” • Joshua A. Bell, Smithsonian Institution
How does design and innovation shape people’s lives in the Pacific? Focusing on plant materials from the region, How Materials Matter reveals ways in which a variety of people – from craftswomen and scientists to architects and politicians – work with materials to transform worlds. Recognizing the fragile and ephemeral nature of plant fibres, this work delves into how the biophysical properties of certain leaves and their aesthetic appearance are utilized to communicate information and manage different forms of relations. It breaks new ground by situating plant materials at the centre of innovation in a region.
Graeme Were is chair and professor of Anthropology in the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology at the University of Bristol. He has a regional specialism in Papua New Guinea, where he has conducted ongoing ethnographic fieldwork since 2000. His published work includes Lines that Connect (2010) and Extreme Collecting (Berghahn, 2012) co-edited with J.C.H. King.
Subject: Anthropology (General) Sociology Cultural Studies (General)
List of Illustrations
Introduction: Materials and Design
PART I: MATERIALS UNDER THE MICROSCOPE
Chapter 1. On the Materials of Mats
Chapter 2. Materials on the Move
Chapter 3. What’s in a Plant Leaf?
PART II: MATERIALS: DESIGN: TRANSFORMATION
Chapter 4. Of Canoes and Troughs
Chapter 5. Enclosures and Disclosures
PART III: MATERIAL FUTURES
Chapter 6. Returning Cultural Knowledge in a Digital Design Context
Chapter 7. Material Histories and the Changing Nature of Museum Collections
Conclusion: Towards a New Understanding of Materiality
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