Wednesday, September 28, 2005

framing the frames

I found S&Q's book extremely stimulating; their account of previous cultural/anthropological theory is an excellent foundational chapter - though some of the works they criticize I do not know well enough to fully comment on (I'm thinking of Jim's and Anthony's comments on Geertz here).

What I like about their approach is that they attempt to synthesize theories rather than reject them outright: this, I applaud. They move on from the situated theory that we discussed last week by introducing their schema and connectionism ideas. Very interesting overall, but their own application of the theories, is to my mind, illustrative at best. they admit as much in their final remarks, and what this provocative book offers is a template to build on rather than a ready-to-go theory.

Another aspect that I like about this book is that it has more than an anthropological audience in mind: it offers critiques of theories that we are all familiar with from different disciplines and it warns about the limits of their application.

Eventhough I am still formulating my ideas on the strength of S&Q's theory, I would without doubt recommend this as a pedagogical text. It is broad-ranging, inclusive of major critical movements, and it offers varied approaches to evaluating and applying theory. It is a book that I will certainly keep at hand.

I will be interested to see what everyone has to make of the vailidity of their schema theory tomorrow...


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