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Ways of Knowing: New Approaches in the Anthropology of Knowledge and Learning

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Volume 18

Methodology & History in Anthropology

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Ways of Knowing

New Approaches in the Anthropology of Knowledge and Learning

Edited by Mark Harris

354 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-84545-364-0 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (October 2007)

eISBN 978-1-78920-415-5 eBook

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“This book is an important stimulus to ongoing debate, and showcases some of the best of recent approaches and challenges to the ways we know what we know.”  ·  Ethos


That there are multiple ways of knowing the world has become a truism. What meaning is left in the sheer familiarity of the phrase? The essays here consider how humans come to know themselves and their worlds. Should anthropologists should seek complexity or simplicity in their analyses of other societies? By going beyond the notion that a way of knowing is a perspective on the world, this book explores paths to understanding, as people travel along them, craft their knowledge and shape experience. The topics examined here range from illness to ignorance, teaching undergraduates in Scotland to learning a Brazilian martial arts dance, Hegels concept of the dialectic to the poetry of a Swahili philosopher. A central concern is how anthropologists can know and write about the silent, theconcealed and theembodied.

Mark Harris teaches Social Anthropology at the University of St Andrews. He has conducted fieldwork in the Brazilian Amazon and archival research on a massive rebellion there in the 1830s. His publications include Life on the Amazon (2000), Some other Amazonians (ed. with Stephen Nugent, 2004), The Child in the City (ed. with Anna Grimshaw, 2000).

Subject: Theory and Methodology Educational Studies


List of Figures

Introduction: ‘Ways of Knowing'
Mark Harris


Chapter 1. Of Dialectical Germans and Dialectical Ethnographers: Notes from an Engagement with Philosophy
Dominic Boyer

Chapter 2. Practising an Anthropology of Philosophy: General Reflections and the Swahili Context
Kai Kresse

Chapter 3. Is Religion a Way of Knowing?
Otávio Velho

Chapter 4. Deskilling, ‘Dumbing Down’ and the Auditing of Knowledge in the Practical Mastery of Artisans and Academics: An Ethnographer’s Response to a Global Problem
Michael Herzfeld


Chapter 5. Knowing Silence and Merging Horizons: The Case of the Great Potosí Cover-Up
Tristan Platt with Pablo Quisbert

Chapter 6. The Construction of Ethnographic Knowledge in a Colonial Context: The Case of Henri Gaden (1867–1939)
Roy Dilley

Chapter 7. Embodying Knowledge: Finding a Path in the Village of the Sick
Paul Stoller


Chapter 8. Crafting Knowledge: The Role of ‘Parsing and Production’ in the Communication of Skill-Based Knowledge among Masons
Trevor Marchand

Chapter 9. Communities of Practice and Forms of Life: Towards a Rehabilitation of Vision?
Cristina Grasseni

Chapter 10. Seeing with a ‘Sideways Glance’: Visuomotor ‘Knowing’ and the Plasticity of Perception
Greg Downey


Chapter 11. Figures Twice Seen: Riles, the Modern Knower and Forms of Knowledge
Tony Crook

Chapter 12. ‘A Weight of Meaninglessness about which there Is Nothing Insignificant’: Abjection and Knowing in an Art School and on a Housing Estate
Amanda Ravetz

Chapter 13. The 4 A’s (Anthropology, Archaeology, Art and Architecture): Reflections on a Teaching and Learning Experience
Tim Ingold with Ray Lucas

Chapter 14. A Discussion Concerning Ways of Knowing
Nigel Rapport and Mark Harris

Notes on Contributors

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