The Life of the Senses : Introduction to a Modal Anthropology book cover
1st Edition

The Life of the Senses
Introduction to a Modal Anthropology

ISBN 9781472531964
Published February 26, 2015 by Routledge
176 Pages

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Book Description

Both a vital theoretical work and a fine illustration of the principles and practice of sensory ethnography, this much anticipated translation is destined to figure as a major catalyst in the expanding field of sensory studies.Drawing on his own fieldwork in Brazil and Japan and a wide range of philosophical, literary and cinematic sources, the author outlines his vision for a ‘modal anthropology’. François Laplantine challenges the primacy accorded to ‘sign’ and ‘structure’ in conventional social science research, and redirects attention to the tonalities and rhythmic intensities of different ways of living. Arguing that meaning, sensation and sociality cannot be considered separately, he calls for a 'politics of the sensible' and a complete reorientation of our habitual ways of understanding reality.The book also features an introduction to the sensory and social thought of François Laplantine by the editor of the Sensory Studies series, David Howes.

Table of Contents

The Extended Sensorium: Introduction to the Sensory and Social Thought of François Laplantine, by David Howes, Concordia University, CanadaTranslator's PrefacePrologue Chapter 1: The Brazilian Art of the Ginga; Walking, Dancing, SingingChapter 2: The Choreographic ModelChapter 3: Pains and Pleasures of the Binary: The Dichotomy of Meaning and the SensibleChapter 4: The Semantic ObsessionChapter 5: The Sensible, the Social, Category and EnergyChapter 6: Two Precursors of an Anthropology of the Sensible: Roger Bastide and Georges BatailleChapter 7: Living Together, Feeling Together: Towards a Politics of the SensibleChapter 8: Sensible Thought: Thinking Through the Body-Subject in MovementEpilogue in the Form of Seven Propositions: Toward a Modal AnthropologySupplement: Sensing TokyoNotesBibliographyIndex

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François Laplantine is Professor Emeritus of the University of Lyon 2, France and has an honorary doctorate from the Federal University of Salvador de Bahia, Brazil.Jamie Furniss is Lecturer in Anthropology at the University of Edinburgh, UK.


By definition, most scholarly work takes the form of 'normal science' in the Kuhnian sense, answering the questions posed by the current state of a discipline and filling in perceived gaps in its knowledge … Once in a while, though, something really revolutionary appears, something that aims to overthrow the very foundations not only of a discipline but of an entire intellectual tradition. Laplantine's modestly titled The Life of the Senses is such a manifesto. - Anthropology Review Database - David Eller