Making Things Better: A Workbook on Ritual, Cultural Values, and Environmental Behavior

Paperback | December 23, 2013

byA. David Napier

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In Making Things Better, A. David Napier demonstrates how anthropological description of non-Western exchange practices and beliefs can be a tonic for contemporary economic systems in which our impersonal relationship to 'things' transforms the animate elements of social life into inanimatesets of commodities. Such a fundamental transformation, Napier suggests, makes us automatons in globally integrated social circuits that generate a cast of a winners and losers engaged in hostile competition for wealth and power. Our impersonal relations to 'things' - and to people as well - areso ingrained in our being, we take them for granted as we sleepwalk through routine life. Like the surrealist artists of the 1920s who, through their art, poetry, films, and photography, fought a valiant battle against mind-numbing conformity, Napier provides exercises and practica designed to shock the reader from their wakeful sleep. These demonstrate powerfully the positivelyintegrative social effects of more socially entangled, non-Western orientations to 'things' and to 'people.' His arguments also have implications for the rights and legal status of indigenous peoples, which are drawn out in the course of the book.

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In Making Things Better, A. David Napier demonstrates how anthropological description of non-Western exchange practices and beliefs can be a tonic for contemporary economic systems in which our impersonal relationship to ''things'' transforms the animate elements of social life into inanimatesets of commodities. Such a fundamental tran...

A. David Napier is Professor of Medical Anthropology at University College London and founding Director of the University's Centre for Applied Global Citizenship.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:192 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.68 inPublished:December 23, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199969361

ISBN - 13:9780199969364

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Table of Contents

Preface: Thing in ThemselvesIntroductionPreamble to the Workbook: Rights or Rites?Part I: Things and PeopleExercise #1: Shaping Behavior1. Meaning and PropertyPracticum #1: Securing Indigenous RightsPart II: Things and PlacesExercise #2: Creating Local Value2. A Sense of PlacePracticum #2: Valuing Indigenous ''Property''Part III: Things Across CulturesExercise #3: Giving and Receiving3. Exchange and ValuePracticum #3: Responding to Global Forces, or, ''Kula International''Part IV: Realizing RitualExercise #4: Changing Paradigms4. Why Animism MattersPracticum #4: Assessing Cognitive DiversityPart V: EpiloguePostscript: The Value of Public AnthropologyNotesBibliographyIndex