Anthropology, Architecture, Archaeology, Art

In the video below preeminent anthropologist and Chair of Social Anthropology at the University of Aberdeen Tim Ingold tries to bring the “4 A’s” [anthropology, architecture, archaeology, and art] together, looking at the ways in which environments are perceived, shaped, and understood.


Tim Ingold’s prodigious academic work includes the book The Perception of the Environment: Essays in Livelihood, Dwelling and Skill (2000), which had a massive influence on me as a developing anthropologist and researcher of all things human. In the book Ingold offers a persuasive approach to understanding how human beings perceive their surroundings. He argues that what we are used to calling cultural variation consists, in the first place, of variations in skill. Neither innate nor acquired, skills are grown, incorporated into the human organism through practice and training in an environment. They are thus as much biological as cultural. The twenty-three essays comprising this book focus in turn on the procurement of livelihood, on what it means to ‘dwell’, and on the nature of skill, weaving together approaches from social anthropology, ecological psychology, developmental biology and phenomenology in a way that has never been attempted before. The book will change the way we think about what is ‘biological’ and ‘cultural’ in humans, about evolution and history, and indeed about what it means for human beings – at once organisms and persons – to inhabit an environment.

His latest is Being Alive: Essays on Movement, Knowledge and Description (2011).

6 responses to “Anthropology, Architecture, Archaeology, Art

  1. Would it be possible for you to create RSS entries? I would love to follow this blog. Thanks for your work 🙂 By the way, another great talk by Tim Ingold!

  2. Marshall Sahlins (anthropologist) argues that empirical knowledge about ‘brute objects’ is just as powerful as the intersubjective data aquired by anthropologists. Quoting Lévi-Strauss he writes:

    “Indeed, inasmuch as these peoples [that anthropology studies] are meaningfully making their modes of life, and inasmuch as we share the same capacities of symbolic invention and understanding, we have the possibility of knowing the cultures of others in ways that are in some respects more powerful than the ways natural scientists know physical objects. [A]s Lévi-Strauss put it for his own discipline, ‘Of all the sciences, anthropology is without a doubt unique in making the most intimate subjectivity into a means of objective demonstration.’”

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