The Perception of the Environment: Essays on Livelihood, Dwelling and Skill

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Routledge, Nov 29, 2021 - Social Science - 630 pages
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In this work Tim Ingold offers a persuasive new approach to understanding how human beings perceive their surroundings. He argues that what we are used to calling cultural variation consists, in the first place, of variations in skill. Neither innate nor acquired, skills are grown, incorporated into the human organism through practice and training in an environment. They are thus as much biological as cultural. To account for the generation of skills we have therefore to understand the dynamics of development. And this in turn calls for an ecological approach that situates practitioners in the context of an active engagement with the constituents of their surroundings.

The twenty-three essays comprising this book focus in turn on the procurement of livelihood, on what it means to ‘dwell’, and on the nature of skill, weaving together approaches from social anthropology, ecological psychology, developmental biology and phenomenology in a way that has never been attempted before. The book is set to revolutionise the way we think about what is ‘biological’ and ‘cultural’ in humans, about evolution and history, and indeed about what it means for human beings – at once organisms and persons – to inhabit an environment. The Perception of the Environment will be essential reading not only for anthropologists but also for biologists, psychologists, archaeologists, geographers and philosophers.

This edition includes a new Preface by the author.

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User Review  - Kassilem - LibraryThing

When I first got this book for class I had multiple people tell me they loved the book. I think I can see why. The book definitely introduces some radical and new ideas about perception. However, I ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - adultist - LibraryThing

A masterpiece of subtle interpretation Read full review

Selected pages


Introduction to Part III
Society nature and the concept of technology
Work time and industry
On weaving a basket
skill and the construction of artefacts
The dynamics of technical change
Western Desert
the concept of the anatomically modern human

The temporality of the landscape
the topology of environmentalism
maps wayfinding and navigation
Stop look and listen Vision hearing and human movement
Speech writing and the modern origins of language origins
from technology language and intelligence to craft song and imagination

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About the author (2021)

Tim Ingold is Emeritus Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Aberdeen. He is the author of many books, including Lines, Making, Imagining for Real and Being Alive.

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