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Title: How the evolutionary imperative process impacts upon the development of body adornment and jewellery
Author: Speet, Scilla
ISNI:       0000 0004 2722 6915
Awarding Body: University of the Arts London
Current Institution: University of the Arts London
Date of Award: 2009
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The thesis is concerned with the imperatives which drive the evolution of body adornment and the creation of jewellery in order to establish a tenable new model which may be used to categorise and explain the nature and intention (both functional and conceptual) of body-related artefacts, past, present and future. Existing models offer value judgements constrained by a Eurocentric anthropological perspective. The thesis investigates the theoretical potential of a neo-Darwinian imperative critique informed, inter alia, by post-Freudian and post-modern values, and feminist theory. It is argued that a mechanism has been operating throughout human history / evolution which has led both sexes to transform their natural bodies in aspiring to an idealised vision. An explanation of this process is approached through an analysis of the place of sexuality and sexual aesthetics in representation / re-presentation through the act of body decoration. An investigation of the evolutionary history and psychology of humans in relation to body adornment shows how the concept of beauty may have evolved as a mode of communication in culture and, most importantly, how jewellery came to be a significant factor in the construction of social and cultural structures and the social control of women’s sexuality. The model presented offers a critical perspective placing the biological imperative in a predetermining role and underpinning other imperatives impacting upon and reflecting levels of consciousness. The thesis argues that no contemporary discourse which excludes the neo- Darwinian dimension can enable the proper analysis of issues such as the interrelationship (co-evolution) between genes, culture, artefact, design and representation in one coherent framework. This critical approach, and its incorporation into the resulting model, proffer the richest resource for informed analysis and is therefore an original contribution to knowledge. Some contemporary jewellers demonstrate a unique understanding of the human condition and human nature, and their ability to encapsulate / translate psycho-emotional narrative through conceptualisation evidences the cognitive / physical relationships with jewellery. Analyses of structured academic case studies of this work seek to identify and establish the principal imperative driving the design process.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available