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Practices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture Paperback – January 2, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0195314403 ISBN-10: 0195314409 Edition: 2nd

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 2 edition (January 2, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195314409
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195314403
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,394 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

This is that rarest of textbooks clear enough for undergraduates and challenging enough to use with graduate students. Simply the best introduction we have to the most important issues in thinking about the visual from an interdisciplinary perspective. This textbook is a comprehensive survey of theoretical, historical, social, and legal issues in visual culture. Well written and well argued, this textbook is suited for an introductory or a more advanced undergraduate course in visual culture or communication... I've used Practices of Looking before and my students loved it. Marina Levina, University of California, Berkeley Practices of Looking makes the subject matter and critical apparatus of visual culture studies accessible and clear. As a text, it communicates the complex ideas that animate the field without falling into jargon and murky writing. This is a book that respects the intelligence of its audience, which ranges from undergraduates just discovering visual culture to graduate students refining their own approaches to the visual universe. Bernard Herman, University of Delaware

About the Author


Marita Sturken is Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University.

Lisa Cartwright is Professor of Communication and Science Studies at the University of California at San Diego.

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Customer Reviews

I would not reccomend buying or using this text.
JJ
Its slow, meandering text comes across as pompous, and at times seems to present subjective information as though it were objective fact.
Duncan Goetze
My friend actually read neatly the whole book and really liked it though.
Ruth Jones

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Aaron Herd on March 12, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's a fascinating topic, and Sturken has some wonderful insights. I learned some great things from this book. That said, I believe it could easily have been written with half as many words. The massive, unbroken blocks of text can become very difficult to continue reading.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dr.L. on January 27, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When I was looking for a textbook for my visual sociology class I went through several highly academic and rather deadly boring books. Then I came across this one. While it is not exactly what I wanted, it does cover about 90% of the needs for this class. Chapters are set in a logical order and take into account political, commercial as well as sociological and cultural aspects of "looking at" photos, sculptures, paintings, TV and films. All of this is combined with an historical frame. The terminology is well defined and placed into context with understandable examples. The photos and paintings, propaganda material and TV adds are valuable and relevant to the what is covered in the text. It is a readable text but there is one drawback....the authors beat the proverbial dead house when it comes to discussion. Like many academics, including some of my own colleagues, they like to hear themselves talk and, in this case, being read. I am more the..make your point and move on type. So while the book could probably be better edited, it is nonetheless a most valuable source in the practice of looking.
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17 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Duncan Goetze on October 8, 2010
Format: Paperback
This book is one of two required texts for my "Visual Arts Today" course at university. While I find the content interesting, I am very sorry to say I cannot rate it higher than two stars. Its slow, meandering text comes across as pompous, and at times seems to present subjective information as though it were objective fact. As such, it bothers me. Much of the book seems to concentrate on building a vocabulary, rather than explaining any deep or startling facts about "looking." The occasional tidbit of interesting information is not enough to warrant the sixty dollar plus price tag, at most it should be forty dollars, if not thirty or less.
I would only recommend this book to those who are deeply involved with the philosophical side of art, and only if they turned down more interesting texts. Like I said, I wish I could rate it higher but the presentation of the information and the price point seriously damage any score I can give it.

--Edit--
It's come to my attention that the price has gone down to fifty five dollars or something like that. Whoop-de-do. The book still sucks, and unless you find it at a used book store, don't bother picking this one up.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A. Frommelt on March 3, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Purchased this book for a grad class: Survey of Visual Culture. The text is dense, has great examples, and is referenced well. Bad typography.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By JJ on January 30, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book has a few really interesting points, but those ponts take up about 1 page in 15. Surrounding each interesting or helpful tidbit is much more arbitrary information that makes you wish the book would just get to the point already. The book could have been edited down to at least half its size and would have been more effective. Unfortunately i need this for a class and have to just deal with the poor setup. I would not reccomend buying or using this text.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Darknite32 on November 17, 2013
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This book shows great art work and explains those art works and chapters pretty good.

the negative part of this book is how difficult it is to understand the reading
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Format: Paperback
I find this book to be needlessly complex. Rather than state the information in plain terms, the authors seem determined to impress the readers with their grasp of technical terminology and multisyllabic words. As a result, I find myself forced to read and reread portions of the text. Often, technical terms go unexplained, or are explained with other technical terms. (For example, psychoanalytical terminology is explained with more psychoanalytical terminology - instead of being translated into layperson's terms.) In my opinion, this is an absolute failure on the part of the authors. Technical writing should make complex information easily understandable. This book, however, converts relatively simple information into riddles. I have an advanced grasp of English. If I am struggling then where does that leave students who do not share my proficiency?
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By QueenG on September 21, 2012
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The images in this book are perfect to the concepts described within it. I used this book as a textbook and it made the course my favorite one to take! A lot of symbolism and interpretation is involved with this text and makes for great discussion in and out of the classroom. It was one that I didn't sell back because the content was worth keeping!
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