SOC588 Social Life of Things

Faculty of Social Studies
Autumn 2013
Extent and Intensity
1/1/0. 10 credit(s). Type of Completion: zk (examination).
Mgr. Zuzana Sekeráková Búriková, Ph.D. (lecturer)
Mgr. Lucie Drdová (assistant)
Guaranteed by
prof. PhDr. Ladislav Rabušic, CSc.
Department of Sociology - Faculty of Social Studies
Contact Person: Ing. Soňa Enenkelová
Supplier department: Department of Sociology - Faculty of Social Studies
Wed 10:00–11:40 AVC
ability to read academic literature in English - students will be expected to read weekly about 25 pages (one study or chapter).
Course Enrolment Limitations
The course is only offered to the students of the study fields the course is directly associated with.

The capacity limit for the course is 22 student(s).
Current registration and enrolment status: enrolled: 0/22, only registered: 0/22
fields of study / plans the course is directly associated with
Course objectives
At the end of the course students should be able to : understand and explain how categories of things and persons, material and immaterial, subjects and objects are constituted and are relations between them; interprete 'social life' of things in various cultural contexts and settings; get orientation in theoretical approaches to things, materiality and their relation to social life; use information gained during the course in preparation of research projects on various topics.
  • Introduction
  • Things and their social lives - things and their social lives, theories of things, ethnography and material culture
  • Making of things – production and technology, industrial production, marxism and fetishism of commodities
  • Circultion of things – market, money and their (im)materiality
  • consumption of things – shopping, global mass consumption, commodification and authenticity
  • things and/as signs – materiality in signs, semiotics, structuralism
  • Things and persons 1 - acting things – things and agency
  • Things and persons 2 – things making subjects, objectification
  • borders of things and persons - body as object, materiality and borders of body, clothes and fashion
  • Sacred things and profane things – religious objects, relationship between materiality and spirituality
  • workshops with objects
  • presentations of student projects and papers *the final version of sylabus will be placed after the start of term in IS
  • The social life of things :commodities in cultural perspective. Edited by Arjun Appadurai. 1st ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986. xiv, 329 s. ISBN 0-521-35726-8. info
  • The material culture reader. Edited by Victor Buchli. New York: Berg, 2002. xi, 274. ISBN 1859735592. info
  • Thinking through things
Teaching methods
lectures, discussions, theoretical preparations, reading and textual analyses, workshops, student presentations, writing of essays and projects.
Assessment methods
60% of points is necessary to pass in both coursework assessment and final examination (semester paper). coursework assessment: Activity during seminars - 15 points presentation of the project of semester paper -15 points project 100 objects of contemporary world - 25 points final assesment: semester paper 45 points
Language of instruction
Further Comments
Study Materials
The course is taught annually.
Listed among pre-requisites of other courses

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