Art as Culture: An Introduction to the Anthropology of Art

By Evelyn Payne Hatcher | Go to book overview

Introduction to the Second Edition

This book is written as an introduction for the use of persons new to the field. To do this I have tried to present the data, and the organizing of ideas in very basic form to look at many ways that what we call art is related to other aspects of culture and society. But in my view this is not being merely simplistic, because in the complexities of the contemporary world in a state of globalization where everything and everybody are interrelated with everything and everybody else, the complexities are overwhelming, and it is difficult to see such relationships.

So I consider this as a theoretical statement, even if put as clearly and simply as I can, because we are in a period when many are so preoccupied with the leaves on the trees that a look at the forest is called for.

Also, it seems to me that if one really understands a theory, it is possible to describe the essence of it in simple terms. This of course omits a great deal that a specialist would find significant, but leads the non-specialist to productive questions. In this edition I have not revised the original chapters but have added two new ones. These basically address the question as to whether what we have learned in smaller societies is useful for understanding larger ones, and how the approaches discussed in the original chapters relate to contemporary thinking. The Functionalist approach, for example, was a very useful one in bringing out many of the ways various aspects of society are related. Of course, it did not explain everything and new organizing ideas were needed. But in tracing out relationships questions were raised that led to other questions. So the examples used in most of the book are very simple sketches of the way art is related to other things in small societies. Such societies are not simple or "primitive", but have been studied because the observer had a chance to explore some of the relationships before globalization changed them.

What we have been calling "a culture" is a kind of construct of what we believe a certain number of people have in common. It is a rather static concept. There are a number of recent works that call to

-xvii-

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Art as Culture: An Introduction to the Anthropology of Art
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Theoretical Note xi
  • About the Illustrations xiii
  • Acknowledgements xv
  • Introduction to the Second Edition xvii
  • Chapter 1 - Contexts and Comparisons: The Anthropological Approach 1
  • Further Reading 20
  • Chapter 2 - Where? The Geographical Dimension 21
  • Further Reading 54
  • Chapter 3 - How? The Technological Means 55
  • Further Reading 84
  • Chapter 4 - Who? The Psychological Perspective 85
  • Further Reading 112
  • Chapter 5 - Why? Social Contexts and Social Functions 113
  • Further Reading 134
  • Chapter 6 - "What. . . ?" Art as Communication 135
  • Further Reading 166
  • Chapter 7 - When and Whence? The Time Dimension 167
  • Further Reading 196
  • Chapter 8 - The Esthetic Mystery 197
  • Further Reading 207
  • Chapter 9 - The Global Context: The 15th Century 209
  • Chapter 10 - Globalization: The 20th Century 229
  • Ethnographic Notes and Index 255
  • Glossary with notes on various usages 287
  • Bibliography 303
  • Bibliography for Second Edition 327
  • Subject and Author Index 331
  • A NOTE ON THE TYPE IN THIS BOOK 337
  • About the Author *
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