Rethinking Visual Anthropology


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Edited by Marcus Banks and Howard Morphy

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For many years the field of visual anthropology has been dominated by a focus on the production and study of ethnographic film, leading many anthropologists to dismiss it as of little importance to their work. This book shows that the scope of visual anthropology is far broader, encompassing the analysis of still photography, television, electronic representation, art, ritual, and material culture. Because anthropology involves the representation of one culture or segment of society to another, say the authors, an understanding of the nature of representational processes across cultures is essential.

This book brings together essays by leading anthropologists that cover an entire range of visual representation, from Balinese television to computer software manuals. Contributors discuss the anthropology of art, the study of landscape, the anthropology of ritual, the anthropology of media and communication, the history of anthropology, and art practice and production. Also included are a wide-ranging introduction and a concluding overview.

The book will be of interest to all anthropologists—even those who have never picked up a camera—and also to those concerned with cross-cultural visual representation in the fields of cultural studies, media studies, and communication theory.

Marcus Banks is university lecturer in social anthropology, University of Oxford. Howard Morphy is professor of social anthropology, University College, London.

ISBN: 9780300078541
Publication Date: April 10, 1999
320 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
90 b/w illus.