Download Expressive culture: learned and patterned ways of creative activities

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Expressive culture: learned and
patterned ways of creative
activities that include art, leisure
and play.
One definition of art:
A kind of play that is subject to
certain culturally appropriate
restrictions on form and content.
The way art is defined affects:
• (1) the manner in which a person classifieds
values and treats artistic creations
• And (2) the manner in which a person
classify and treats those who create art, the
Another definition of art:
Art is the application of imagination,
skill, and style to matter, movement
and sound that goes beyond the
purely practical
Art could be:
Story telling
Object creation
Art can be classified by period or
• Classical
• Postmodern
• modern
• Graphic or plastic
• Performance
• verbal
Western distinctions of art
• “Fine art”(art for art’s sake)--rare,
expensive, formally trained artist, non
utilitarian, produced for a market
• “folk art”--non trained artist, anonymous,
utilitarian, not produced for market
Aesthetic: agreed upon notions
of quality
• An approach that looks at
local notions of art quality
or variations in aesthetic
Yoruba of Nigeria
• 19th century Yoruba
(Idebu) carving
• Standards in terms of
Form and content
The study of art is more than the
study of the products of arts
• Who makes art and why?
• They look at the role of society in the
process of making art
• Because artistic expressions grow out
particular economic, political and
social contexts
Reinforce social patters
• Resistance
• Example; Nicaraguan
The functions of art: Social
control and resistance
Entertainment and education
Social Control and Resistance
• To legitimise political
• At the same time a
performance may be a
site for resistance and
political contestation:
El Gueguense
• To participate
• To have a good time
• It provides a sense of identity for members of a
• It identifies group boundaries,
• It teaches people the value of their traditions,
• And the importance of ceremonies, etc
• Example: indigenous expressive culture: songs
and dance.
Anthropologists focus
• on the artist
• on ethnicity gender and power
• on performance arts
Performance arts
• Dance, music and theatre
• Ethnomusicology--Steven Feld 1982:
“Sound and Sentiment: Birds, Weeping,
Poetics and Song in Kaluli Expression”
• The anthropology of Performance -sites
for cultural negotiations
The anthropology of Museums
Role of museums in exhibiting culture
Who has the right to represent?
Interests groups9indiginous groups)
New ethical guides(professional academic
Discussion Question
• To understand art in a particular society or
culture we need to look beyond art itself.
Explain. Give an example to illustrate your