The Life of the Senses: Introduction to a Modal Anthropology

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Format: Hardcover. Publisher s : Bloomsbury Academic. Availability: This title is currently not available. Summary Both a vital theoretical work and a fine illustration of the principles and practice of sensory ethnography, this much anticipated translation is destined to figure as a major catalyst in the expanding field of sensory studies.

Chapter 5. The Sensible, the Social, Category and Energy

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Useful Links. Castaing-Taylor is the Director of the Sensory Ethnography Lab at Harvard University, which is dedicated to experimental ethnographic sound and film production. Grimshaw, Pink and McDougall are all prominent theorists and practitioners of visual anthropology. Visual anthropology and sensory anthropology are both offshoots of the sensory turn in the humanities and social sciences on which more below.

The incorporation of this extended definition of the sensible into the lexicon of sensory studies going forward will be a spur to further elaboration of this nascent field of inquiry, which is still searching for its own language. Even writing, which we ordinarily think of as having to do with representation e. Clifford and Marcus , is a physical activity for Laplantine — and a source of pleasure:.

I like to write by hand. There is something carnal about the contact between pen and paper … It is an experience of tactile pleasure that I hold dear. The creation — or the putting in crisis — of meaning [through the activity of writing] unfolds for me in a rhythmic movement which unites the eyes, the hand, cigarettes, pens — never ballpoint pens —and sheets of differently colored paper. Other targets at which Laplantine takes aim include: the discontinuity of the sign, the ideology of the present and presence, representation, identity, the stabilized subject and totality — all of which constitute so many manifestations of categorial thinking i.

Commenting on the opposition between these two modes of knowledge in chapter 9, Laplantine writes refreshingly :. I believe that in the construction of an anthropology of the sensible what is necessary is more to revitalize the antitheses than to find syntheses, or, worse still, to accept compromises that would do away with the question of the ethical and the political, as well as the negativity that befits the act of thinking p.

One of the objectives of the Sensory Studies series is to expand the forum of sensory studies internationally through translations, such as this one, that multiply the voices in circulation by overcoming language barriers here that of French. It is instructive to compare the genealogy of the different branches of sensory studies — here that of anthropology — in different national traditions.

Castaing-Taylor, Lucien ed. Visualizing Theory. Berkeley: University of California Press. Clark, Andy. Classen, Constance. London:: Routledge. Encyclopedia of European Social History. Aroma: The Cultural History of Smell. London: Routledge. Clifford, James and Marcus, George eds.

Grimshaw, Anna. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Hesse, Herman, Narcissus and Goldmund, trans. Hertel, Ralf. Howes, David ed. Howes, David. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Apeldoorn, Netherlands: Het Spinhuis.

Introduction to a Modal Anthropology

Art and the Senses. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Howes, David and Classen, Constance. Ways of Sensing: Understanding the Senses in Society.

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Howes, David and Pink, Sarah. Ingold, Tim. Lock, Margaret and Farquhar, Judith eds. McDougall, David.

Princeton: Princeton University press. Macpherson, F. Guns, Germs and Steel. Jared Diamond. Affluence Without Abundance. James Suzman. Kate Fox. The Celts. Alice Roberts.

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