‘Making’ and ‘doing’ the Material World: Anthropology of Techniques revisited

A UCL Anthropology Workshop, 19th-20th January 2008, sponsored by the Journal of Material Culture
The ‘making’ of the material world has been a long standing concern of the French Anthropology of Techniques (Leroi-Gourhan, Haudricourt, Lemonnier) who views technology as a universal and distinctive category of material activity. Technology ‘is an ongoing and unfinished process through which people, society’ and things ‘weave … the meaningful conditions of everyday life’ (Dobres 2000:4). This workshop aims to discuss the uses, contributions and weaknesses of the French school of Anthropology of Techniques and to explore alternatives and recent theoretical developments. Under a cross-disciplinary perspective, it will consider the dimension of ‘doing’ the everyday material world (de Certeau 1984) through the daily use of technology. It will explore technology and techniques such as techniques of the body (Mauss 1936/1979), technical gestures (Leroi-Gourhan 1945/1993) and techniques of the self (Foucault 1978) in relation to embodied practice, language and cognition. We invite scholars working within anthropology, archaeology and sociology to explore technology as a category in its own right from empirically grounded perspective.
For full details, speakers and registration, click: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/anthropology/conferences/index.htm