Centre for Cultural Psychology


New book: Ordinary Things and Their Extraordinary Meanings

New book: Ordinary Things and Their Extraordinary Meanings

The book edited by Giuseppina Marsico and Luca Tateo provides a new look at the everyday relationship between psychological processes and extraordinary aspects of ordinary phenomena.

Last modified: 27.05.2019

Why should we deal with ordinary things? People’s life is made of everyday practical, taken-for-granted things, such as driving a car, using money, listening music, etc. When you drive from home to workplace, you are migrating between contexts. Is this an empty space you are crossing, or the time you spend into the car is something meaningful?

In psychological terms, things have, at least, three levels of existence, a material, a symbolic and an affective one. The underlying idea is that the symbolic elaboration of everyday things is characterized by the transcendence of the particular object-sign, leading to the creation of more and more complex sign fields. These fields expand according to an inclusive logic up to dialogically and dialectically incorporate opposites (i.e. clean/dirty, transparent/opaque, hide/ show, join/divide, slow/fast, etc.). Even the meaning of “ordinary” and “extraordinary” follow such an inclusive logic: if you give a positive value to ordinary, extraordinary is rule-breaking; otherwise, if ordinary means trivial, extraordinary assumes a positive value. Besides, things are cultural artifacts mediating the experience of the world, the psychological processes and the construction of mind. Reflecting upon “things” is thus a more meaningful pathway to understand Psyche.


Series Editors‘ Preface: How Can Things Be Ordinary? Introduction: Framing a Theory of Ordinary and Extraordinary in Cultural Psychology, Luca Tateo and Giuseppina Marsico. On the Border for Hiding and Revealing: Dialogues Through Underwear, Jaan Valsiner. The Magic of Holes, Achille C. Varzi. The Pornographic Gaze and the Sense of Listening, Sven Hroar Klempe. The Poetic Resonance of an Instant: Making Sense of Experience and Existence Through the Emotional Value of Encounters, Olga V. Lehmann. Words and Numbers and Their Singular Multiplicity, Marco Tonti. The Pen: How Cultural Objects Become Semiotically Impregnated, Ana Cecília de Sousa Bastos and Maria Angélica Gonçalves Coutinho. Lotteries, Betting, Coca-Cola, and Octopus Paul: The Extraordinary Side of the Ordinary, Sergio Salvatore. Money for Ordinary Things—Clean or Dirty? Money: Ordinary Things but Deeply Culturally Embedded Phenomenon, Tatsuya Sato, Hideaki Kasuga, and Akinobu Nameda. Clocks, Watch, or Something Else? Ruggero Andrisano Ruggieri and Claudia Venuleo. Through the Looking Glass: Monitor and Display, Luca Tateo. One Mirror, No Mirror, One Hundred Thousand Mirrors, Maria Virgínia Dazzani, Waldomiro Silva Filho, and José Carlos Ribeiro. Why Is the Virgin Mary Not an Ordinary Mother? Finding Otherness and Selfness in the Sacred Triangle, Koji Komatsu. What May We See From the Window or What a Window May Show to Us? Kirill S. Maslov. The Balcony, Giuseppina Marsico. A Discussion About Musical Instruments: Prostheses of Body, Prostheses of Culture: Objects or Processes, Raffaele De Luca Picione. About the Contributors.

More about the book Ordinary Things and Their Extraordinary Meanings


Giuseppina Marsico

Luca Tateo