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How Culture Is Made Through Objects
How culture is made through objects

We make things. And through those things we modify ourselves. Furthermore, we decide upon the fate of things we have made—keep them or abandon, adore them, destroy them, or pass them on to others as gifts or in exchange for other objects.1

These three notions—make, modify, and maintain—are sufficient to specify how the human species differs from most others—with the possible exception of higher primates—and what difference culture makes. The history of the human species is that of breaking out from the dominance of the environment (adaptation to it) into a condition of future-oriented reflexivity—human beings adapt the environment not only to their current needs, but also to their anticipated, desired, and (often) unrealistic objectives ...

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