Cultural artefacts and neglect of the materials from which they are made

Terence Rajivan Edward

Abstract


This paper discusses an explanation, offered by Tim Ingold, for why social and cultural anthropologists have so far paid little attention to the materials from which artefacts are composed. The explanation is that these anthropologists accept a certain argument. According to the argument, what an anthropologist should focus on when examining an artefact are those qualities that make it part of a culture, and this is not the materials from which the artefact is composed. I show that Ingold has not made a compelling case against this argument, but also that it is not sound.

Keywords


Tim Ingold, anthropology, artefact, materials

References


Geertz, C. (1973) Thick Description: Toward an Interpretive Theory of Culture. In The Interpretation of Cultures. New York: Basic Books.

Henare, A., Holbraad, M. and Wastell, S. (2007) Introduction. In Thinking Through Things, edited by A. Henare, M. Holbraad and S. Wastell, 1-31. London: Routledge.

Ingold, T. (2000a) General introduction. In The Perception of the Environment: Essays on livelihood, dwelling and skill. London: Routledge, pp. 1-7.

Ingold, T. (2000b) On weaving a basket. In The Perception of the Environment: Essays on livelihood, dwelling and skill. London: Routledge, pp. 339-348.

Ingold, T. (2008) Anthropology is Not Ethnography. Proceedings of the British Academy 154: 69-92.

Miller, D. (1987) Material Culture and Mass Consumption. Oxford: Blackwell.

Prinz, J. (2016) Culture and Cognitive Science. In E.N. Zalta (ed.) The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Fall 2016 Edition. Accessed on 17th Feb. 2016 from:

https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2016/entries/culture-cogsci/

Schneider, D. (1980, second ed.) American Kinship: A Cultural Account. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Sperber, D. (1996) Rethinking Culture. Oxford: Blackwell.

Strathern, M. (1990) Artefacts of history: events and the interpretation of images. In Culture and History in the Pacific, edited by J. Sikkala, 25-44. Helsinki: Finnish Anthropological Society.


Full Text: PDF

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.