Material Culture and Technologies
Material culture encompasses the objects created by people. These objects can be made and used, and also shared between people. Everything that does not exist naturally without human intervention (Kendall, 2013). Something becomes an element of material culture after being processed by technology made by people. This includes a wide range of objects from furniture to electronics and cars.
Computers, smartphones, and smartwatches seem like good examples. Many other types of electronics like Wi-Fi routers and robotic vacuum cleaners might also be considered. These are the things that can be associated with the modern era. Electronics became a very important part of our lives, thus, characterizing the material culture of our era. If we imagined modern America without electronics, it would be unrecognizable, especially to those who live in bigger cities.
The clock on my wall definitely represents culture, it is made in Japan and is shaped like a Japanese temple. Besides this, the clock does not have any electronics inside of it; therefore, it seems to be not only representing a different culture, but also an earlier era. Yet, it is not necessary for objects to be that strongly related to a nation to represent a different culture. For example, gunpowder was invented in China and first used for weapons there. Therefore, it is a part of Chinese material culture of an earlier era.
Technology refers to the knowledge, techniques, and tools that allow people to transform resources into usable forms and the knowledge and skills required to use what is developed. Even though there might not be a big difference between past-gen and new-gen technology, but they might strongly differ due to modern technology making people’s lives much better and thus affects culture.
Kendall, D. (2013). Sociology in our times (11th ed.). Independence, KY: Wadswodth Publishing.