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Developing Skill, Developing Vision: Practices of Locality at the Foot of the Alps

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Volume 3

European Anthropology in Translation

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Developing Skill, Developing Vision

Practices of Locality at the Foot of the Alps

Cristina Grasseni
Translated from the Italian

224 pages, 25 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-84545-537-8 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (January 2009)

Hb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“I recommend this book to readers …interested in a rich ethnographic engagement with some of the key issues of materiality, skill, the senses and emplacement arising from the work of Ingold and Latour, and from the concerns of apprenticeship studies and visual anthropology. At the same time, it is an important contribution to revitalizing European community studies by combining concerns about place and identity with these other contemporary theoretical trends.”  ·  Material World


Many people feel that the impact of technology and the pressure of the market economy on alpine communities leads to a loss of biodiversity, authenticity and cultural diversity, affecting animal husbandry, local food production, social networks and traditions. It is undeniable that "progress," "development" and "integration" are transforming working routines, recipes for dairy production and patterns of communication in rural communities. This book explores the many tensions at the core of present local practices and debates in the Italian Alps, highlighting the many transformations undergone within skilled practice and cultural heritage as a result of commoditization, professionalization and technification, with a special focus on the ways in which this also means, quite literally, changing one's vision of locality: of the landscape, of local products and of local animals.

Cristina Grasseni is a Professor of Anthropology at Leiden University (the Netherlands).

Subject: Anthropology (General)
Area: Europe


List of Figures

Chapter 1. From Community Studies to Communities of Practice

  • Skill, Place and Identity
  • From Community Studies to Communities of Practice
  • Identity, Emplacement and Phenomenology
  • Towards an Ecology of Practice
  • A Place at the Margins of Europe?
  • Going Rural Conclusion

Chapter 2. Blessed Be the Car!

  • The Problem of Place
  • Roots
  • Shifting Tracks
  • Routes
  • Commuting to Church
  • Blessed Be the Car
  • Conclusion

Chapter 3. From Observational Documentary to Skilled Vision

  • Film as Ethnography
  • Worldviews and the Anthropology of Vision
  • The Critique of Vision
  • Skilled Vision
  • Breeding Aesthetics
  • Conclusion

Chapter 4. Skilled Practice

  • Skill, Technology and Farming
  • Encountering Breeding Strategies in the Field
  • Life on the Farm
  • Localising Skills?
  • Conclusion

Chapter 5. Skilled Vision and Animal Husbandry

  • Towards an Ecology of Skilled Visions
  • Looking as a Form of Cultural Belonging
  • Industrialising Organisms
  • Expert Looks, Moral Looks
  • Conclusion

Chapter 6. Reinventing Skills

  • Mobilising Skills
  • Taleggio – a Cheese and a Valley
  • Local Products, Local Memories
  • New Skin for Old Cheese
  • Conclusion


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I would like to recommend Developing Skill, Developing Vision Practices of Locality at the Foot of the Alps for the library. Please include it in your next purchasing review with my strong recommendation. The RRP is: $135.00

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