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Making: Anthropology, Archaeology, Art and Architecture

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Making creates knowledge, builds environments and transforms lives. Anthropology, archaeology, art and architecture are all ways of making, and all are dedicated to exploring the conditions and potentials of human life. In this exciting book, Tim Ingold ties the four disciplines together in a way that has never been attempted before. In a radical departure from conventional studies that treat art and architecture as compendia of objects for analysis, Ingold proposes an anthropology and archaeology not of but with art and architecture. He advocates a way of thinking through making in which sentient practitioners and active materials continually answer to, or ‘correspond’, with one another in the generation of form. Making offers a series of profound reflections on what it means to create things, on materials and form, the meaning of design, landscape perception, animate life, personal knowledge and the work of the hand. It draws on examples and experiments ranging from prehistoric stone tool-making to the building of medieval cathedrals, from round mounds to monuments, from flying kites to winding string, from drawing to writing. The book will appeal to students and practitioners alike, with interests in social and cultural anthropology, archaeology, architecture, art and design, visual studies and material culture.

176 pages, Hardcover

First published March 1, 2012

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About the author

Tim Ingold

66 books164 followers
Tim Ingold (born 1948) is a British social anthropologist, currently Chair of Social Anthropology at the University of Aberdeen. He was educated at Leighton Park School and Cambridge University. He is a fellow of the British Academy and of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. His bibliography includes The Perception of the Environment: Essays in Livelihood, Dwelling and Skill, Routledge, 2000, which is a collection of essays, some of which had been published earlier.

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Displaying 1 - 7 of 7 reviews
Profile Image for Philippe.
619 reviews507 followers
August 21, 2013
Tim Ingold's 'Making' is a worthy successor to his earlier `Lines: A Brief History' and `Being Alive: Essays on Movement, Knowledge and Description'. This book is a very rich and satisfying critique of the objectivist epistemology and technocratic ethos that underpins much of knowledge production today.

The critique operates at different levels. Its opening gambit is a prima facie plea to save the discipline of anthropology from a collapse into the documentary thrust of ethnography. Ingold sees the former as a transformational "space for generous, open-ended comparative yet critical enquiry into the conditions and potentials of human life". Ethnography merely turns `participant observation' into `qualitative data' that are to be analysed in terms of an exogenous body of theory. These are fundamentally different, antithetical ways of knowing. Ingold's argument is a call to deepen our knowledge of the world from the inside, as fellow travellers, as co-producers with other beings and things that command our attention. Knowing, therefore, is `understanding in practice'. It is inextricably meshed with `making' as an active engagement with the material world.

Here the central theme of the book emerges. We are used to think of making as a `project', with a rather precise idea in mind of what we like to produce (a plan, a design) and a supply of materials to achieve it. Ingold contrasts this `hylomorphic' model with a `morphogenetic' approach that enacts making as a contingent process of growth. Making becomes a process of entering "the grain of the world's becoming and bend it to an evolving purpose". The author goes on to demonstrate the power and relevance of the morphogenetic approach in a revealing series of case studies centering on very different `things and beings' drawn from the realms of anthropology, archeology, art and architecture (`the four A's'). These include ancient utensils such as paleolithic handaxes, quasi-natural landscape features such a prehistoric mounds and technical, complex artefacts such as watches and cathedrals. Ingold wields the morphogenetic perspective as a conceptual lever to unearth layers upon layers of very rich and surprising insights. On this journey he sides with intellectual allies such as Deleuze and Guattari, Richard Sennett, Vilem Flusser, Gregory Bateson and the paleontologist André Leroi-Gourhan (to name just a few).

The relevance of Ingold's argument goes beyond the already expansive territory encapsulated by the four A's. From my perspective it connects seamlessly with recent (and not so recent) insights in decision-making theory, in management, foresight and transition studies and in soft systems approaches. On the other hand it seems that the epistemology defended by Ingold is a radical critique of the kind of `hard' systems thinking that is sought after by decision-makers who are increasingly taxed by the savage unruliness of the world unfolding beyond their boardroom doors. This kind of `joined-up thinking' Ingold considers to be "a friend of reason but an enemy of sentience".

Apart from the cogency of an argument that is very difficult to do justice in a brief review, it seems to me this book has a number of qualities that enhance the reading experience. Despite its richness it is a slim volume (a mere 140 pages) and therefore doesn't impose undue claims on time-pressed readers. Ingold's prose is, as always, carefully groomed and accessible without being condescending. Also, I relished the appositeness of the carefully chosen references, which provide opportunities for engaging follow-up study (Lars Spuybroek's `The Architecture of Continuity: Essays and Conversations' and David Turnbull's `Masons, Tricksters and Cartographers' to name but two of my personal favourites). Altogether this is an important book that I'd like to emphatically recommend to the intellectually curious, whatever their disciplinary background.
Profile Image for Lieke.
66 reviews6 followers
May 31, 2023
Everyone who has anything to do with creativity should read this!
Profile Image for Vahid Askarpour.
79 reviews6 followers
October 3, 2021
چگونه ميتوان دانش و معرفتى پيرامون چيزها حاصل كرد؛ نه اينكه لزوماً چيزها را شواهد (بخوانيد بردگان)ى براى تحصيل شناختى نسبت به انسان ها در نظر آورد؟ اين كتاب نخستين رساله در خط مقدم برسازش يك منظومه معرفتى نوين خواهد بود كه ميتوان آن را "چيزشناسى" دانست كه "چيزنگارى" هم قسمى از آن است. نگارش آن را بى گمان از تيم اينگولد ميتوان چشم داشت كه پيشتر با نگارش كتابهاى زنده بودن و تاريخچه خطها زمينه را براى ورود به ساحت ساختن و كنكاشى ژرف در همه ابعاد آن فراهم ساخته است. انسان شناسى وى را هرگز نميتوان انسان شناسى در معناى متعارف آن برشمرد.
Profile Image for Susan B.
40 reviews2 followers
December 11, 2022
Very beautiful book!! Anti-capitalist at its finest! I've read it for a course at uni but really enjoyed
Profile Image for Alex.
101 reviews6 followers
January 25, 2016
Beautiful and insightful prose on the nature of understanding how beings of all type meld their energy with their environment in wondrous composition.

"All learning, as I hope that you have found by now, is self-discovery. Where next? Know for yourself!"
Profile Image for Paris Sel.
8 reviews13 followers
June 22, 2016
Bringing the 4As together makes more and more sense while reading it. Demanding at points but very rewarding.
Displaying 1 - 7 of 7 reviews

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