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|Author:||Weiner, James F.|
|Citation:||Current Anthropology, 1997; 38(2):197-235|
|School/Discipline:||School of Social Sciences : Anthropology|
|Abstract:||Professor of Anthropology at the University of Adelaide (Adelaide, S.A. 5005, Australia [email@example.com‐laide.edu.au]). He received his Ph.D. from Australian National University in 1984 and has conducted research among the Foi of Papua New Guinea since 1979. His publications include The Heart of the Pearl Shell: The Mythological Dimension of Foi Sociality (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988), The Empty Place: Poetry, Space, and Being among the Foi of Papua New Guinea (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1991), and The Lost Drum: The Myth of Sexuality in Papua New Guinea and Beyond (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1995). The present paper was submitted 12 II 96 and accepted 4 III 96; the final version reached the Editor's office 6 III 96. The appropriation of Western visual media technology by indigenous peoples around the world, particularly in Australia, North America, and the Amazon Basin, has drawn the attention of anthropologists impressed with how such people have utilized visual self‐representation as a mode of empowerment, political assertion, and cultural revival in the face of Western cultural and economic imperialism. In this paper I maintain, however that there are different relationships between signs, concepts, and sociality in different cultures and that visual media have embedded within them their own Western ontology of these semiotic relations. Anthropologists have by and large not sufficiently problematized their own participation in this modern ontology of representation, and they assume that it is the same framework as that operating in the representational practices of the indigenous peoples on which they focus their attention. I situate a critique of Western visual representation within the progress of marxist theory in the 20th century. I go on to suggest that a dialectical approach to this phenomenon preserves the anthropological perspective on non‐Western ritual, art, and representation that was bequeathed to us by Victor Turner and is still an essential component of the “anthropological lens”.|
|Appears in Collections:||Anthropology & Development Studies publications|
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