Wednesday, 6 March 2013

5.3. Visual Anthropology

[Ethnography has a] goal, of which an Ethnographer should never lose sight. This goal is, briefly, to grasp the native's point of view, his relation to life, to realise his vision of his world. We have to study man, and we must study what concerns him most intimately, that is, the hold life has on him. In each culture, the values are slightly different; people aspire after different aims, follow different impulses, yearn after a different form of happiness. In each culture, we find different institutions in which man pursues his life-interest, different customs by which he satisfies his aspirations, different codes of law and morality which reward his virtues or punish his defections. To study the institutions, customs, and codes or to study the behaviour and mentality without the subjective desire of feeling by what these people live, of realising the substance of their happiness—is, in my opinion, to miss the greatest reward which we can hope to obtain from the study of man.
Argonauts of the Western Pacific (1922) by Bronislaw Malinowski.

And the six visual domains which constitute a culturally conditioned visual communication system amenable to ethnographic analysis (according to Jay Ruby):
Arts and crafts
Built Environment

Some literature on Anthropology:

Ruth Benedict: The Patterns of Culture
Emile Durkheim: The Elementary Forms of Religious Life
Claude Levi-Strauss: Introduction to the Work of Marcel Mauss
Claude Levi-Strauss: The Scope of Anthropology
Marcel Mauss: Techniques of the Body
Margaret Mead: Sex and Temperament in Three Primitive Cultures

And some on Visual Anthropology

David MacDougall: The Visual in Anthropology in Rethinking Visual Anthropology 1997 (can be downloaded as pdf)
Jay Ruby: Seeing Through Pictures. The Anthropology of Photography
Eliot: Weinberger: The Camera people in Visualizing Theory
Visualizing theory
Ks: Visual

No comments:

Post a Comment