Publisher description for Artefacts as categories : a study of ceramic variability in central India / Daniel Miller.


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Counter The aim of Artefacts as Categories is to ask what we can learn about a society from the variability of the objects it produces. Dr Miller presents a comprehensive analysis of the pottery produced in a single village in central India, drawing together and analysing a whole range of aspects - technology, function, design, symbolism and ideology - that are usually studied separately. Central to the analysis is the contention that human categorisation processes mediate in the production of all artefacts and that artefacts therefore constitute an essential and much-neglected 'silent' source of evidence which complements the abundant studies of linguistic categories. Using the concepts of 'pragmatics', 'framing', and 'ideology', the author points to the insufficiency of many ethnographic accounts of symbolism and underlines the need to consider both the social positioning of the interpreter and the context of the interpretation when looking at artefacts.

Library of Congress subject headings for this publication: Pottery, Prehistoric India, Pottery Analysis, India Antiquities