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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Traditions of Invention in Equatorial Africa
Author:Guyer, Jane I.ISNI
Year:1996
Periodical:African Studies Review
Volume:39
Issue:3
Period:December
Pages:1-28
Language:English
Geographic term:Central Africa
Subjects:indigenous knowledge
innovations
Anthropology and Archaeology
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/524941
Abstract:On the basis of sources from Equatorial Africa, the author examines the creation and endorsement of originality in Africa in the centuries before its conquest. To a remarkable degree, Equatorial societies created and endorsed an ongoing engagement between the centripetal forces of a structured order and the centrifugal forces of novelty, performative skill and invention. The social production of multiplicity amongst singular people who were each at their own frontier of expertise, and their situational mobilization for action through social composition, together make up the process which the author has called 'traditions of invention'. The first section of the article outlines inferences about 'wealth in people as wealth in knowledge' contained in her earlier publications, giving some sense of the empirical evidence for multiplicity and composition. The next section links these ideas to selected current works in four disciplines: demography, art history, cognitive anthropology, and African philosophy, using also material from outside Equatorial Africa. The last section returns to social theory, followed by a concluding reference to the author's own frontiers of interest in economic and social anthropology. Bibliogr., notes, ref.
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