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Evocative Objects: Things We Think With Paperback – September 30, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-0262516778 ISBN-10: 0262516772 Edition: Reprint

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press; Reprint edition (September 30, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262516772
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262516778
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #330,325 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Original, absorbing, and beautifully written, this collection of essays will forever change the way you look at the objects in your life."--Helen Epstein, author of *Children of the Holocaust* and *Where She Came From: A Daughter's Search for her Mother's History*



"A wonderfully evocative (there really is no other word for it) series of meditations on meaningful objects." -- PD Smith, The Guardian



" Evocative Objects is a collection of great richness and complexity. Reading these essays transforms one"s sense of the most commonplace objects, and prompts us to explore the palimpsest of the past within us." Jill Ker Conway , President Emerita, Smith College, author of The Road from Coorain



"*Evocative Objects* is a collection of great richness and complexity. Reading these essays transforms one's sense of the most commonplace objects, and prompts us to explore the palimpsest of the past within us."--Jill Ker Conway, President Emerita, Smith College, author of *The Road from Coorain*

About the Author

Sherry Turkle is Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology at MIT and Founder and Director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self. A psychoanalytically trained sociologist and psychologist, she is the author of The Second Self: Computers and the Human Spirit (Twentieth Anniversary Edition, MIT Press), Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet, and Psychoanalytic Politics: Jacques Lacan and Freud's French Revolution. She is the editor of Evocative Objects: Things We Think With, Falling for Science: Objects in Mind, and The Inner History of Devices, all three published by the MIT Press.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A. Philley on December 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book because it seemed to get to ideas I've been using in my latest painting project. Turkle gives a very nice and brief introduction to how she became interested in objects as a path to philosophy and ways of thinking about the world. The vignettes are rather random and I think quite beautiful. This is not a book that will have a great final point. It meanders and allows you to make associations and hopefully draw some conclusions about your own life and the objects in it. I also like that the book itself is a wonderful object. About the size of a hymnal or some other type of book meant to be held and easy to carry around. A very nice book as a gift for someone who has too many things!
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Alice K. on October 10, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book is a gem. In this collection of essays, the authors reflect on how a seemingly simple object - a rolling pin, a train, a pair of ballet slippers - can serve as an emotional marker and play a powerful role in understanding relationships, life transitions and loss. I'll recommend this book to my book group because it should prompt a lively discussion about the evocative objects of the members.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By shrink reader on October 8, 2007
Format: Hardcover
THis is a lovely book, a treat for the imagination. Sherry Turkle has arranged these short essays with photographs and artfully chosen bits of literature, psychology, or cultural theory for accompaniment. Her own essays are erudite, clear, and beautifully written. REading this will prompt enjoyable meditations on your own evocative objects.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Hage on June 3, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Book Review submitted by: Stephen J. Hage, [...]

This is an unexpectedly delightful yet seriously thoughtful book that invites you reexamine your relationship to objects, about which, you seldom, if ever think.

It's a collection of essays written by humanists, designers, scientists and artists--thoughtful individuals--that disclose the fluidity and complexity of being alive by revealing their very personal relationships with objects as mundane as a rolling pin and as banal as comic book superheroes.

Each essay is paired with writings from philosophy, history, literature and theory which resonate with the essay in ways that illuminate both what the essayist is saying and what he or she means.

Each essay, in a very different way, demonstrates why it is a mistake to assume that objects are nothing more than inanimate collections of atoms and molecules. They show instead that objects can be and often are capable of evoking potent emotional responses dealing with grief, fear, loss, love, hatred, abandonment, intellectual curiosity, poverty and existence.

Here's a taste of what's in store for you should you choose to read this book:

From the essay MURRAY: THE STUFFED BUNNY

Before the essay the paired writing offers this: "To get to the idea of playing it is helpful to think of the preoccupation that characterizes the playing of a young child. The content does not matter. What matters is the near withdrawal state, akin to the concentration of older children and adults. The playing child inhabits an area that cannot be easily left, nor can it easily admit intrusions. This area of playing is not inner psychic reality. It is outside the individual but it is not the external world.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By David Block on January 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Sherry Turkle's "Evocative Obects" fails as a book because Turkle fails to draw unifying and distinguishing principles about any certain set of 'things.' Nobody doubts that objects evoke, nobody doubts that 'objects' can be...well...anything: real, virtual/digital, Wordsworthian 'spots of time', memories, etc. The problem is that we seem not to be able to define a new, exclusive class of things called 'evocative objects,' predict when a thing will be a member of that class or not, what role it will/may/might/ought to perform, what its long term effect will be on the development of the person at whatever stage the person encounters it and how the person will change over time having been 'evoked.' What, who, when, where, and why does it evoke, and are we evoked? Even saying that "I have been evoked by that object" sounds a little peculiar (except at maybe a Wittgenstein birthday party) since when we are evoked, we are pretty passive observers of our selves. And I don't think this is what Sherry (just easier than "Dr" or "Prof") means.

Rather, there is a class of special things (in the sense above) comprised of "invocative objects": they do cause changes in us, they likely relate to a stage of development and there is something in them and something in us that are "the same." Or so I gather from Sherry's closing essay.

That said, the collection is fascinating - and Sherry's essays should be seen as no different in kind from any of the others. Perhaps that's what saddens me: she recognizes her invocative objects - the photograph and the imago of her dad and the world of "the grandparent's box" - and she fails the test of ultimate engagement. (All the other writers pass, with varying grades).
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