Creativity and Cultural Improvisation

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2008-05-15
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
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There is no prepared script for social and cultural life. People work it out as they go along. Creativity and Cultural Improvisation casts fresh, anthropological eyes on the cultural sites of creativity that form part of our social matrix. The book explores the ways creative agency is attributed in the graphic and performing arts and in intellectual property law. It shows how the sources of creativity are embedded in social, political and religious institutions, examines the relation between creativity and the perception and passage of time, and reviews the creativity and improvisational quality of anthropological scholarship itself. Individual essays examine how the concept of creativity has changed in the history of modern social theory, and question its applicability as a term of cross-cultural analysis. The contributors highlight the collaborative and political dimensions of creativity and thus challenge the idea that creativity arises only from individual talent and expression.

Author Biography

Elizabeth Hallam is Senior Lecturer in Social Anthropology, Department of  Anthropology, and Tim Ingold is Professor, Department of Anthropology, both at University of Aberdeen.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsp. ix
List of Contributorsp. xiii
Prefacep. xix
Creativity and Cultural Improvisation: An Introductionp. 1
Improvisation and the Art of Making Things Stickp. 25
Modes of Creativity in Life and Art
Introductionp. 45
Structure, Innovation and Agency in Pattern Construction: The Kolam of Southern Indiap. 55
Creating or Performing Words? Observations on Contemporary Japanese Calligraphyp. 79
Creativity, Subjectivity and the Dynamic of Possessive Individualismp. 99
Creative Appropriations and Institutional Contexts
Introductionp. 119
Locating Authorship: Creativity and Borrowing in the Writing of Ethnography and the Production of Anthropological Knowledgep. 127
Revolution as a Convention: Rebellion and Political Change in Kabyliap. 151
'You knit me together in my mother's womb': English Baptists and Assisted Procreationp. 167
Creativity and the Passage of Time: History, Tradition and the Life-course
Introductionp. 185
Performing the World: Agency, Anticipation and Creativityp. 193
'Tradition and the individual talent': T.S. Eliot for Anthropologistsp. 207
Back to the Future: Temporality, Narrative and the Ageing Selfp. 223
The Creativity of Anthropological Scholarship
Introductionp. 239
From Documenting Culture to Experimenting with Cultural Phenomena: Using Fine Art Pedagogies with Visual Anthropology Studentsp. 247
Creativity in Advertising, Fiction and Ethnographyp. 267
(Re)constructing the Field through Sound: Actor-networks, Ethnographic Representation and 'Radio Elicitation' in South-western Ugandap. 285
A World Without Anthropologyp. 307
Indexp. 321
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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