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Title: A praxeological approach to Dogon material culture
Author: Douny, Laurence
ISNI:       0000 0004 2674 3187
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2007
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Grounded in long-term fieldwork, this thesis develops an ethnography of two aspects of Dogon material culture: the Dogon landscape and the Dogon habitation, both of which are defined as containers. The examination of these two discrete metaphorical and material epistemologies, which are conceptualised as 'skin envelopes', seeks implicit forms of worldviews that are objectified in their materiality. In other words, the research focuses on the expressions of a daily generative cosmology as it is grounded in pragmatic, material and routine embodied activities that relate to the 'making' and 'doing' of these two forms of container. Framed within an Anthropology of Techniques, the study employs a combined praxeological and phenomenological approach entailing the participant observation of body-kinetic and sensory experience of containers. In addition, observations of the body movements involved in the making and storing of things in the compound expose the containers in a visual sequence called 'chaine operatoire' that also constitutes a frame of analysis, one devised through the recording of the manufacturing and use of the containers. Thus, through an empirical, descriptive, reflexive, and processual approach to Dogon containers and related worldviews, my research elaborates theoretical perspectives on a Dogon philosophy of containment that is defined within a materiality perspective. In doing so, I demonstrate that particular local ways of 'being-in-the-world' or 'being-at-home in a world container' are generated through the material qualities of the Dogon landscape, or cosmoscape, and the domestic sphere of the compound. These operate through a gathering process and boundary-making devices that create the inside/outside locales in which people dwell and which generate a sense of ontological security in a particular scarce environment.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available