Tim Ingold’s Being Alive: Essays on Movement (pdf)
Tim Ingold is a British anthropologist, and Chair of Social Anthropology at the University of Aberdeen. His interests are wide ranging: environmental perception, language, technology and skilled practice, art and architecture, creativity, theories of evolution in anthropology, human-animal relations, and ecological approaches in anthropology. Early concern was with northern circumpolar peoples, looking comparatively at hunting, pastoralism and ranching as alternative ways in which such peoples have based a livelihood on reindeer or caribou.
In his recent work, he links the themes of environmental perception and skilled practice, replacing traditional models of genetic and cultural transmission, founded upon the alliance of neo-Darwinian biology and cognitive science, with a relational approach focusing on the growth of embodied skills of perception and action within social and environmental contexts of human development. This has taken him to examining the use of lines in culture, and the relationship between anthropology, architecture, art and design.
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).