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Book chapter Book chapter Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The way of the bricoleur
Author:Elder, TanyaISNI
Book title:Manoeuvring in an environment of uncertainty: structural change and social action in sub-Saharan Africa
Geographic term:Mali
Subjects:indigenous technology
Abstract:In Mali, the term 'bricolage' is commonly used to describe how a technical artefact is repaired, or fixed to a point where it can continue to function at a provisional level. This chapter explores the interaction between artefacts and humans in West Africa and the manner in which this relationship is expressed in societies characterized by material constraints. It also examines the register of actions and social skills necessary for people to piece together functional practices. In other words, the discussion of the bricoleur is not restricted to a description of artefacts, but also pays attention to the strategies people use to manoeuvre in a world of uncertainty. There is both a material and a social aspect to being a bricoleur and, in the practices the author studied, the bricoleur who has mastered the social aspect seems to be gaining ground. The chapter focuses in particular on the situation of photographers in Mali, describing how individual and group practices have evolved in three different contexts: for studio photographers, street photographers taking photographs for ID cards, and 'mobile' photographers taking pictures of important social and individual events. Bibliogr., notes.