Signs of Recognition: Powers and Hazards of Representation in an Indonesian Society

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University of California Press, Feb 1, 1997 - Social Science - 300 pages
Webb Keane argues that by looking at representations as concrete practices we may find them to be thoroughly entangled in the tensions and hazards of social existence. This book explores the performances and transactions that lie at the heart of public events in contemporary Anakalang, on the Indonesian island of Sumba. Weaving together sharply observed narrative, close analysis of poetic speech and valuable objects, and far-reaching theoretical discussion, Signs of Recognition explores the risks endemic in representational practices. An awareness of risk is embedded in the very forms of ritual speech and exchange. The possibilities for failure and slippage reveal people's mutual vulnerabilities and give words and things part of their power. Keane shows how the dilemmas posed by the effort to use and control language and objects are implicated with general problems of power, authority, and agency. He persuades us to look differently at ideas of voice and value. Integrating the analysis of words and things, this book contributes to a wide range of fields, including linguistic anthropology, cultural studies, social theory, and the studies of material culture, art, and political economy.
 

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Contents

Introduction Representation Recognition and Hazard
1
REPRESENTATION AGENCY AND MATERIALITY
5
ORDINARY OBJECTIFICATION
9
RECOGNITION
14
FORM AND REFLECTION
16
CAUSATION AND SIGNIFICATION
18
SPEECH AND POLITICAL ECONOMY
20
THE DIFFICULTIES OF REPRESENTATION AND THE HAZARDS OF ENCOUNTER
23
THE WORK OF REFLECTION
120
ICONISM AND HIDDEN NAMES
127
DISPLACEMENT AUTHORITY AND DANGER
133
Voices Agents and Interlocutors
138
VOICE AND AGENCY
139
GATHERING TOGETHER
145
FACING THE OTHER
149
THE SPEECH OF NEGOTIATION
156

Geography History and Sociality
29
ORDER AND REPRESENTATION AS ETHNOGRAPHIC PROBLEMS
33
GEOGRAPHY AND HISTORY
36
KABISU AND BLOOD FELLOWS
48
THE VALUE AND CHALLENGE OF AFFINES
51
DEPENDENT SLAVE AND THE REPRESENTATION OF RANK
57
TOWARD MEDIATION
63
Things of Value
65
WORK GENDER AND TRANSFORMATION
67
REGIMES OF VALUE
72
METAL AND CLOTH
75
THE EXCESS OF MEANINGS
78
SOCIAL ANIMALS
81
DOUBLED SIGNS
86
AMBIGUOUS ATTACHMENTS
91
Loaded Terms
94
LANGUAGE IDEOLOGY
97
PARALLELISM
101
INTERPRETING COUPLETS
106
CANON AND CONTEXT
111
Text Context and Displacement
115
BOUNDARIES AND CONTEXT
117
THE SLIPPAGE OF WORDS
163
CHALLENGES
167
QUESTIONS OF IDENTITY
169
SELFREPRESENTATION AND SOCIAL ACTION
173
Formality and the Economy of Signs
176
THE RULE OF ACTION
179
THE IDEA OF PATA AND THE VALUE OF OUTCOMES
186
OBJECTS AND OTHER PEOPLE
191
THE MARKS LEFT BY WORDS
195
Subjects and the Vicissitudes of Objects
199
THE CONCEPT OF DEWA
202
DEWA AND VICISSITUDE
206
BEYOND RISK
208
ANCESTRAL VALUABLES
211
RENEWAL AND RECOGNITION
217
DEMONIC VALUE
219
THE ACTIVITY OF PERSISTENCE
222
Conclusion
224
Notes
237
Bibliography
269
Index
287
Copyright

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About the author (1997)

Webb Keane is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Michigan.

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