Anthropological Perspectives on Technology

Anthropological Perspectives on Technology

by Michael Brian Schiffer
     
 

ISBN-10: 0826323693

ISBN-13: 9780826323699

Pub. Date: 04/28/2001

Publisher: University of New Mexico Press

These fourteen original essays accept a dual premise: technology pervades and is embedded in all human activities. By taking that approach, studies of technology address two questions central in anthropological and archaeological research today-accounting for variability and change. These diverse yet interrelated chapters show that to understand human lives,

…  See more details below

Overview

These fourteen original essays accept a dual premise: technology pervades and is embedded in all human activities. By taking that approach, studies of technology address two questions central in anthropological and archaeological research today-accounting for variability and change. These diverse yet interrelated chapters show that to understand human lives, researchers must deal with the material world that all peoples create and inhabit. Therefore an anthropology of technology is not a separate, discrete inquiry; instead, it is a way to connect how people make and use things to any activity studied, ranging from religion, to enculturation, to communication, to art.

Each contributor discusses theories and methods and also offers a substantial case study. These detailed inquiries span human societies from the Paleolithic to the computer age. By moving beyond the usual approach of examining ancient technologies, particularly chipped stone and low-fired ceramics, this volume probes for the construction of meaning in the material world across millennia. The authors of these essays find technology to be an inclusive and flexible topic that merges with studies of everything else in human activity.

"A provocative and powerful discussion of the role of technology in human cultures. At a time when archaeology has become less focused on theory, and archaeology and social anthropology seem to fracture farther and farther apart, the book is a breath of fresh air."—Professor John Douglas, University of Montana

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780826323699
Publisher:
University of New Mexico Press
Publication date:
04/28/2001
Series:
Amerind Foundation New World Studies Series
Edition description:
1 ED
Pages:
2556
Product dimensions:
8.70(w) x 11.20(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

List of Figures
List of Tables
Foreword
Preface
Ch. 1Toward an Anthropology of Technology1
Ch. 2Beyond Art and Technology: The Anthropology of Skill17
Ch. 3Thought and Production: Insights of the Practitioner33
Ch. 4Meaning in the Making: Agency and the Social Embodiment of Technology and Art47
Ch. 5Symbols Do Not Create Meanings - Activities Do: Or, Why Symbolic Anthropology Needs the Anthropology of Technology77
Ch. 6Ritual Technology in an Extranatural World87
Ch. 7Toward an Archaeology of Needs107
Ch. 8The Design Process as a Critical Component of the Anthropology of Technology123
Ch. 9Understanding Artifact Variability and Change: a Behavioral Framework139
Ch. 10Artifice Constrained: What Determines Technological Choice?151
Ch. 11Building Bridges: Practice-based Ethnographies of Contemporary Technology163
Ch. 12Coordination of Technological Practice and Representations at the Boundaries179
Ch. 13From Sail to Steam at Sea in the Late Nineteenth Century193
Ch. 14The Explanation of Long-Term Technological Change215
Contributors237
Index238

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >