The handwritten inventories had lain largely untouched for centuries. Sand used to dry the ink still lay between the pages. Written neatly inside were thousands of lists that might hold the key to an enduring puzzle in economics – does education fuel economic growth?
Things structure our lives. They enrich us, embellish us and express our hopes and fears. Here, to introduce a month-long focus on research on material culture, four academics from different disciplines explain why understanding how we interact with our material world can reveal unparalleled insights into what it is to be human.
Restricting displays – which increase sales of displayed drinks by up to 46% for alcohol and by 52% for carbonated drinks - could curb consumption without affecting price or availability.
Boys and action comics go together like Batman and Robin – but how are girls represented in comics? Sociologist, Casey Brienza, investigates the male world of the action comic and looks at the depictions of female characters.
In the recent riots looters made off with some of the items that have come to symbolise our materialistic society - trainers, track suits and flat screen televisions. Katy Barrett, who is doing a PhD in the Department of the History and Philosophy of Science at Cambridge and the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, is co-convening a series of seminars which will look at the powerful role that possessions play in society, past and present.
Having just returned from a year spent documenting the language and culture of the remote Inughuit community of north-western Greenland, Dr Stephen Leonard describes how he witnessed first-hand the manner in which globalisation and consumerism are conspiring to destroy centuries-old cultures and traditions.