Re: Hill's view on cultural materials

Thu, 27 Jan 1994 10:34:19 -0600

would like to ask a question regarding W. W. Taylor and M. Hill's separation of
material from culture. If discourse and communication are, in any way central
to culture (as I believe they are), then how can we justify the idea that
machines (for example) are not? Symbolic systems are no more and no less than
a kind of multifunctional artifact. Just as other kinds of technology change
in different and dynamic contexts, so must communication. Moreover, is it
accurate to say that indexes (ie. the signified) can be so completely separated
from their cultural representatives (ie the signifier)? And finally, do we
not, in the sense of trying to understand and accommodate them, actually enter
into a discourse with material objects?


Matt Tomaso
Department of Anthropology
University of Texas at Austin