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Life at Home in the Twenty-First Century: 32 Families Open Their Doors Hardcover – July 12, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 180 pages
  • Publisher: The Cotsen Institute of Archaeology Press; 1St Edition edition (July 12, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1931745617
  • ISBN-13: 978-1931745611
  • Product Dimensions: 9.7 x 9.9 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #209,797 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"An unflinching view of the American family, with all its stresses and joys on display. It's full of intriguing data."  -The New York Times


"A fascinating snapshot of America's material culture."  -Larry Mantle, AirTalk, Southern California Public Radio


"A meticulous, systematic documentation by a cross-disciplinary team...a visual ethnography of middle-class American households."  -The Washington Post

This book documents major findings of a brilliantly conceived and executed piece of social science research that speaks to a very wide and diverse audience. Its findings are significant, credible, and provocative. In my opinion, it is one of the most significant social-science projects undertaken in the United States, demonstrating the power of anthropological and archaeological approaches to researching human behavior, whether in a traditional tribal society or in an industrial megalopolis.

The discussions are filled with interesting insights that could only have come from a first-hand study of household material culture. The flow of everyday life in relation to places defined by objects provides a refreshing and unique perspective on human behavior. Readers will be drawn in by the lively, well-written, and accessible prose. The images are spectacular because there s nothing else like them in quality, quantity, and especially their unique view of modern family life and household possessions. [This book is] of great significance, not only to the social sciences but also to ongoing policy discussions about what is happening in America. --Michael Brian Schiffer (University of Arizona)

From the Author

Published July 2012. 
Second printing October 2012.
Winner of the 2012 JoAnne Stolaroff Cotsen Prize.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'd never thought of the way we live now as finding its place in time by examining our homes, our objects, our selves, as an archeologist would examine a long dead society with limited artifacts. In the book, it says that we came closest to knowing the lives of a past civilization when we found Pompeii. Those people, frozen in motion, had more to tell than any other such dig. But, as the authors say, how much more we could know if we were there as they had moved about their homes, their businesses, picked up objects to use, kept dear thing close and revealed the value placed on some objects. In this respect, it continues to influence me as I make choices daily in my own life, what I treasure, how I go about my daily routine.

Then of course, it renders our homes as activity centers, which we know how to talk about from all the HGTV we watch, and about multi-use areas important in small space living. I wonder if the more multi-use areas a home has, does that reveal a lower economic level? with single use areas in the homes of the wealthy expanded like gas to fill a void? I'll think on that a bit too.

I did not get this to help me design my home remodel, but it appeals to my need for self awareness. I do not often think of my place in time......but this is so fascinating, it feels like James Michener's novel THE SOURCE, which dug deeper and deeper and layer by layer down with his civilizations, connecting the family Ur to preceding generations.

When the book arrived, I laid it bedside, intending to scan the contents that night. Well, I decided to take a peek after I read the Introduction, and then I kept going. It isn't a long book, easily read through. And then it needs to be revisited a bit later on, after you think about it.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By My Roman Apartment on July 1, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a fascinating and disturbing read about American consumerist culture written from the standpoint of scientists studying the modern equivalent of an archeological dig site.

As a side benefit, after reading this book I was totally motivated to clean my house. Which is amazing. Because there's really nothing I hate more than housework.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Michigan Reviewer on April 19, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Many times my wife and I are curious about how other people in other places live. Here in the USA specifically. This book answers that question. All LA area families, so it may be a bit different than the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, but enlightening nonetheless. This book makes me appreciate my organizational freak wife. Some of these homes are almost disaster areas with all of the "stuff" the families have accumulated. We are, however, guilty of an over decorated refrigerator. We also have a very child centered home. And we have 1 child and a large home. We are light on some of the tech and entertainment systems, and that suits us fine. Our garage, unlike many in the book, is used for motor vehicles. We do spend time in our backyard in the summer. Our kitchen table, like many in the book, is used for a myriad of purposes. It is fun to "peek in the windows" of these homes and compare our lives and home to others in similar situations. Great book.
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19 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth L. Taylor on August 11, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
With all the reality TV people have a distorted view of what a home looks like. This book goes in depth to the family model and home life of real Americans. Great stats and pics
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