Ceramic Theory and Cultural Process

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Overview

This much-praised book aims to develop a theory of ceramics which will elucidate the complex relationship between ceramics and culture and society. Drawing upon the theoretical perspectives of systems theory, cybernetics and cultural ecology, Dr Arnold develops cross-cultural generalizations to explain the origins and evolution of the craft of pottery making. These processes are organized into a series of feedback mechanisms which limit or stimulate the initial production of pottery and its transition from a part-time to a full-time specialized activity. The author provides extensive ethnographic documentation, taken from a wide-ranging synthesis of the available literature and employing many data from his own fieldwork in Peru, Guatemala and Mexico, to illustrate the existence of these feedback relationships in societies around the world. Each mechanism is viewed, not as a relationship which exists in a few of the world's cultures, but as a universal generalization often based on some unique physical or chemical aspect of the pottery itself. Ceramic theory and cultural process is an innovative approach to the archaeological interpretation of ceramics which significantly extends our understanding of the social, cultural and environmental processes of ceramic production.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Arnold's presentation is fascinating in its complexity. The charts that summarize aspects of ceramic production are an especially valuable way to organize the information he has pulled together. He has done a good job of distilling ethnographic facts from many cultures to make them available to readers who are more likely to be conversant with the literature on a restricted geographic area. The book is well-written and the chapters flow logically." Susan Niles, The Latin American Anthropology Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521272599
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 6/16/1988
  • Series: New Studies in Archaeology Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 284
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Table of Contents

1. Introduction; 2. Resources; 3. Weather and climate; 4. Scheduling conflicts; 5. Degree of sedentariness; 6. Demand; 7. Man/land relationships; 8. Technological innovations; 9. Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.

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