Artefacts as Categories: A Study of Ceramic Variability in Central India

Artefacts as Categories: A Study of Ceramic Variability in Central India

by Daniel Miller
Pub. Date:
Cambridge University Press

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Artefacts as Categories: A Study of Ceramic Variability in Central India

The aim of Artefacts as Categories is to ask what we can learn about a society from the variability of the objects it produces. Dr Miller presents a comprehensive analysis of the pottery produced in a single village in central India, drawing together and analysing a whole range of aspects - technology, function, design, symbolism and ideology - that are usually studied separately. Using the concepts of 'pragmatics', 'framing' and 'ideology', the author points to the insufficiency of many ethnographic accounts of symbolism and underlines the need to consider both the social positioning of the interpreter and the context of the interpretation when looking at artefacts. His invigorating study cogently questions many assumptions in material culture studies and offers a whole range of fresh explanations. Archaeologists in particular will welcome the discussion of familiar materials such as pottery rim shapes, body forms and decoration. However, the book will have a broad appeal to researchers in cultural studies, social anthropology and psychology and will attract all those interested in the problem of relating objects and society.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780521104791
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 03/19/2009
Series: New Studies in Archaeology Series
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 268
Product dimensions: 5.98(w) x 9.02(h) x 0.59(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction; 1. The context of fieldwork; 2. Creating categories: the manufacture of pottery; 3. Form and function; 4. The Dangwara potters and the distribution of pottery; 5. An analysis of the paintings; 6. The ritual context; 7. A symbolic framework for the interpretation of variability; 8. Pottery as categories; 9. Pottery and social strategy; Conclusion: archaeology and society; Appendix; Bibliography; Index.

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