In this work Tim Ingold offers a persuasive 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.
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 revolutionises 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.
Reissued with a brand new preface, The Perception of the Environment is essential reading not only for anthropologists but also for biologists, psychologists, archaeologists, geographers and philosophers.
Tim Ingold is Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Aberdeen, UK.
‘Tim Ingold's rigorous and imaginative approach to modes of perception as practices involving entire organisms in relations with others is unmatched in contemporary anthropology. This work, drawing on scholarship from across the arts and sciences, addresses foundational questions within and well beyond anthropology’s four fields. His new preface outlining some of the ways he has since developed these ideas is inspirational.’
- Gillian Feeley-Harnik, University of Michigan, USA
'The Perception of the Environment is a formidable work in terms of its intellectual breadth ... its sheer volume ... and methodical consistency and clarity.' - The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute
' ... this is an extremely significant book and quite possibly lives up to its promise "to revolutionize the way we think". The book's power lies in its ability to push readers to places previously unimagined ... it is imperative that this book be read by as many people from as broad an audience as possible.' - Anthropological Forum