Advertisement

Fine if I Do, Fine if I Don’t. Dynamics of Technical Knowledge in Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Olivier P. Gosselain
Chapter

Abstract

In our “global village,” things and practices are currently diffused over such large areas that few, if any, relationships seem to exist anymore between their spatial distribution and salient cultural boundaries. Global products, such as powder milk, canned fish, or digital watches, are found everywhere, from the fringes of Greenland to the heart of the rainforest, as are cities congested with Japanese cars, boys impersonating the football star of the day, or adults greeting each other with a handshake. These elements have given rise to a form of “world cultural landscape,” so pervasive in our daily experience that we do not pay attention to it anymore.

Keywords

Social Boundary Life Trajectory Shaping Technique Canned Fish Technical Behavior 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

References

  1. Argenti, N. (1999). Is this how I looked when I first got here  ? Pottery and practice in the Cameroon Grassfields, British Museum Occasional Paper 132, London.Google Scholar
  2. Balfet, H. (1965). Ethnographical observations in North Africa and archaeological interpretation: the pottery of the Maghreb. In Matson, F. (ed.), Ceramic and man, Aldine Publishing, Chicago, pp. 162–177.Google Scholar
  3. Barley, N. (1984). Placing the West African Potter. In Picton, J. (ed.), Earthenware in Asia and Africa, Percival David Foundation, London, pp. 93–105.Google Scholar
  4. Berns, M.C. (1989). Ceramic clues: Art history in the Gongola Valley. African Arts 22 (2): 48–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Berns, M.C. (2000). Containing power: Ceramic and ritual practice in Northeastern Nigeria. In Roy, C. (ed.), Clay and Fire: Pottery in Africa, Iowa Studies in African Art 4, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, pp. 53–76.Google Scholar
  6. Bocquet-Appel, J.-P., Courgeau, D. and Pumain, D. (eds) (1996). Spatial analysis of biodemographic data. John Libbey, Paris.Google Scholar
  7. Bowser, B. (2002). The perceptive potter: an ethnoarchaeological study of pottery, ethnicity, and political action in Amazonia. Unpublished PhD thesis, Santa Barbara, University of California.Google Scholar
  8. Bowser, B.J. and Patton, J.Q. (2008). Learning and transmission of pottery style. Women’s life histories and communities of practice in the Ecuadorian Amazon. In Stark, M., Bowser, B. and Horne, L. (eds) Cultural Transmission and Material Culture: Breaking Down Boundaries, The University of Arizona Press, Tucson, pp. 105–129.Google Scholar
  9. Bravman, R. (1974). Islam and tribal art in West Africa. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  10. Bromberger, C. and Morel, A. (eds) (2001). Limites floues, frontières vives. Des variations culturelles en France et en Europe. Editions de la Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, Paris.Google Scholar
  11. Brumann, C. (1999). Writing for culture. Why a successful concept should not be discarded. Current Anthropology 40 (Supplement): S1–S27.Google Scholar
  12. Corniquet, C. (in press). Cadres de pratiques et circulation des connaissances chez les potières de la région de l’Arewa (Niger). Cahiers d’Etudes Africaines.Google Scholar
  13. David, N. and Hennig, H. (1972). The Ethnography of Pottery: A Fulani Case Seen in Archaeological Perspective. McCaleb Module in Anthropology 21: 1–29.Google Scholar
  14. Delneuf, M. (1991). Un champ particulier de l’expérimentation en céramique: les ateliers de poterie traditionnelle du Nord-Cameroun. In 25 Ans d’études technologiques en préhistoire, Editions APDCA, Juan-les-Pins, pp. 65–82.Google Scholar
  15. Dobres, M.-A. (2000). Technology and social agency. Blackwell, Oxford.Google Scholar
  16. Drost, D. (1967). Töpferei in Afrika: Technologie. Akademieverlag, Leipzig.Google Scholar
  17. Drost, D. (1968). Töpferei in Afrika. Ökonomie und Soziologie. Jahrbuch des Müseums für Völkerkunde zu Leipzig 24: 131–270.Google Scholar
  18. Etienne-Nuge, J. and Saley, M. (1987). Artisanats traditionnels en Afrique Noire. Niger, Institut Culturel Africain, Dakar.Google Scholar
  19. Fatunsin, A.K. (1992). Yoruba pottery. National Commission for Museum and Monuments, Lagos.Google Scholar
  20. Frank, B.E. (1998). Mande potters and leatherworkers. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington.Google Scholar
  21. Gallay, A. (1994). Sociétés englobées et traditions céramiques: le cas du Pays dogon (Mali) depuis le 13e siècle. In Audouze, F. & Binder, D. (eds), Terre cuite et société: la céramique, document technique, économique, culturel, Editions APDCA, Juan-les-Pins, pp. 435–57.Google Scholar
  22. Gallay, A., Huysecom, E. and Mayor, A. (1998). Peuples et céramiques du Delta intérieur du Niger (Mali): un bilan de cinq années de mission (1988–1993). Terra Archaeologica 3, Verlag Philipp von Zabern, Mainz.Google Scholar
  23. Gelbert, A. (2001). Ethnoarchaeological study of ceramic borrowings: A new methodological approach applied in the middle and upper valleys of the Senegal River. In Beyries, S. and Pétrequin, P. (eds), Ethnoarchaeology and Its Transfers, British Archaeological Reports International Series 983, Oxford, pp. 81–94.Google Scholar
  24. Gelbert, A. (2003). Ceramic Traditions and Technical Borrowings in the Senegal Valley, Editions de la MSH & Editions Epistèmes, Paris.Google Scholar
  25. Gosselain, O.P. (1998). Social and technical identity in a clay cristal ball. In Stark, M. (ed.), The Archaeology of Social Boundaries, Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, pp. 78–106.Google Scholar
  26. Gosselain, O.P. (1999). Poterie, société et histoire chez les Koma Ndera du Cameroun. Cahiers d’Etudes Africaines 39 (1): 73–105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Gosselain, O.P. (2000). Materializing identities: An African perspective. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 7(3): 187–217.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Gosselain, O.P. (2002). Poteries du Cameroun méridional. Styles techniques et rapports à l’identité. CNRS Editions, Paris.Google Scholar
  29. Gosselain, O.P. (2008a). Ceramics in Africa. In Selin, H. (ed.), Encyclopaedia of the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine in Non-Western Cultures, Springer, New-York, pp. 464–477.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Gosselain, O.P. (2008b). Mother Bella was not a Bella. Inherited and transformed traditions in Southwestern Niger. In Stark, M., Bowser, B. and Horne, L. (eds), Cultural Transmission and Material Culture: Breaking Down Boundaries, The University of Arizona Press, Tucson, pp. 150–177.Google Scholar
  31. Gosselain, O.P. (2010). De l’art d’accommoder les pâtes et de s’accommoder d’autrui au sud du Niger. Espaces sociaux et échelles d’analyse. In Manen, C., Convertini, F., Binder, D. and Senepart, I. (eds), Premières sociétés paysannes de la Méditerranée orientale. Structure des productions céramiques, Mémoire 51 de la Société préhistorique française, Paris, pp. 249–263.Google Scholar
  32. Gosselain, O.P. and Livingstone Smith, A. (2005). The Source. Clay Selection and Processing Practices in Sub-Saharan Africa. In Livingstone Smith, A., Bosquet, D. and Martineau, R. (eds), Pottery Manufacturing Processes : Reconstruction and Interpretation, British Archaeological Reports International Series 1349, Oxford, pp. 33–47.Google Scholar
  33. Haaland, R. (1978). Ethnographical Observations of Pottery-Making in Darfur, Western Sudan, With Some Reflections on Archaeological Interpretation. In Kristiansen, K. and Poludan-Müller, C. (eds), New Directions in Scandinavian Archaeology, The National Museum of Denmark, Copenhagen, pp. 47–61.Google Scholar
  34. Hauenstein, A. (1964). La poterie chez les Ovimbundu (Angola). Acta Tropica 21 (1): 48–81.Google Scholar
  35. Herbich, I. (1987). Learning Patterns, Potter Interaction and Ceramic Style among the Luo of Kenya. The African Archaeological Review 5: 153–204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Huysecom, E. (1994). Iron Age Terracota Pestles in the Sahel Area: an ethnoarchaeological approach. In Krzyzaniak, L., Koeper, K. and Kobusiewicz, M. (eds), Interregional Contacts in the Later Prehistory of Northeastern Africa (International Symposium Dymaczewo 8–12 September, 1992), Poznan Archaeological Museum, Poznan, pp. 419–458.Google Scholar
  37. Jones, S. (1997). The Archaeology of Ethnicity. Constructing Identities in the Past and the Present. Routledge, London.Google Scholar
  38. Kanimba, M. (1996). Ceramics from the Upemba Depression: a Diachronic Study. In Arnoldi, M.J., Geary, C.M. and Hardin, K.L. (eds), African Material Culture, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, pp. 103–129.Google Scholar
  39. Kaufmann, J.-C. (1997). Le cœur à l’ouvrage. Théorie de l’action ménagère. Editions Nathan, Paris.Google Scholar
  40. Kaufmann, J.-C. (2004). L’invention de soi. Une théorie de l’identité. Armand Colin, Paris.Google Scholar
  41. Kientega, H. (1988). La céramique de la région de Poura. Unpublished MA thesis, Ouagadougou, Université de Ouagadougou.Google Scholar
  42. Knops, P. (1959). L’artisan Senufo dans son cadre Ouest-Africain. Bulletin de la Société Royale Belge d’Anthropologie et de Préhistoire 70: 83–111.Google Scholar
  43. Kreamer, C.M. (2000). Money, Power and Gender: Some Social and Economic Factors in Moba Male and Female Pottery Traditions (Northern Togo). In Roy, C. (ed.), Clay and Fire: Pottery in Africa, Iowa Studies in African Art 4, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, pp. 189–212.Google Scholar
  44. Langlois, O. (2001). La distribution des techniques de façonnage de la poterie au sud du bassin tchadien: un outil pour la recherche historique régionale. Journal de la Société des Africanistes 71(1): 225–256.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Lave, J. (1996). The practice of learning. In S. Chaiklin and J. Lave  (eds) Understanding practice. Perspectives on activity and context, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 3–32.Google Scholar
  46. Lave, J. and Wenger E. (1991). Situated Learning. Legitimate Peripheral Participation, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  47. LaViolette, A. (2000). Ethnoarchaeology in Jenné, Mali. Craft and Status among Smiths, potters and masons. British Archaeological Reports International Series 838, Oxford.Google Scholar
  48. Lawton, A.C. (1967). Bantu Pottery of Southern Africa. Annals of the South African Museum 49(1): 1–434.Google Scholar
  49. Lenclud, G. (1997). Médor et minet. En lisant Jean Pouillon. L’Homme 143: 123–131.Google Scholar
  50. Livingstone Smith, A. (2000). Processing Clay for Pottery in Northern Cameroon: Social and Technical Requirements. Archaeometry 42(1): 21–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Livingstone Smith, A. (2007). Histoire du décor à la roulette en Afrique subsaharienne. Journal of African Archaeology 5 (2): 189–216.Google Scholar
  52. Livingstone Smith, A. and Van der Veken A. (2009). The ‘Crossing Borders Project’: Pottery Traditions in Katanga (DRC). Afrique, Archéologie & Arts 5: 141–148.Google Scholar
  53. Lyons, D. and Freeman A. (2009). ‘I’m Not Evil’: Materializing Identities of Marginalized Potters in Tigray Region, Ethiopia. Azania, Archaeological Research in Africa 44(1): 75–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. MacEachern, S. (1998). Scale, Style, and Cultural Variation: Technological Traditions in the Northern Mandara Mountains. In Stark, M. (ed.), The Archaeology of Social Boundaries, Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, pp. 107–131.Google Scholar
  55. Manessi, G. (1960). Tâches quotidiennes et travaux saisonniers en pays bwa, Publications de la Section de Langue et Littérature N°5, Université de Dakar, Dakar.Google Scholar
  56. Miller, D. (1997). Coca-Cola: a black sweet drink from Trinidad. In Miller, D. (ed.) Material cultures, University College, London, pp. 169–188.Google Scholar
  57. Nicklin, K. (1981). Pottery Production and Distribution in Southeast Nigeria. In Howard, H. and Morris, E.L. (eds), Production and Distribution: a Ceramic Viewpoint, British Archaeological Reports International Series 120, Oxford, pp. 169–186.Google Scholar
  58. Nicolas, G. (1975). Les catégories d’ethnie et de fraction ethnique au sein du système social hausa. Cahiers d’Etudes Africaines 59: 399–441.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Owusu-Ansah, A. (1973). The Pottery Industry of Bonakile. Unpublished B.A. Dissertation, University of Ghana, Legon.Google Scholar
  60. Pinçon, B. (1997). Pour une approche dynamique des productions: l’exemple des céramiques du Massif du Chaillu (Congo, Gabon) de 1850 à 1910. Canadian Journal of African Studies 31(1): 113–143.Google Scholar
  61. Pinçon, B. and Ngoie-Ngalla, D. (1990). L’unité culturelle Kongo à la fin du XIXème siècle. L’apport des études céramologiques. Cahiers d’Etudes Africaines 118 (30–32): 157–178.Google Scholar
  62. Priddy, B. (1971). Some Modern Ghanaian Pottery. In A. Fagg (ed.) Papers Presented to the 4th Meeting of West African Archaeology: Jos, 1971, Federal Department of Antiquities , Jos, pp. 72–81.Google Scholar
  63. Quarcoo, A.K. and Johnson, M. (1968). Shai Pots. Baessler-Archiv 16: 47–97.Google Scholar
  64. Ravenhill, P. (1976). The social organization of the Wan. A patrilineal people of Ivory Coast. University Microfilms International, Ann Arbor.Google Scholar
  65. Roy, C. (1987). Art of the Upper Volta Rivers. A. & F. Chaffin, Meudon.Google Scholar
  66. Sall, M. (2001). Traditions céramiques, identité et peuplement en Sénégambie. Ethnographie comparée et essai de reconstitution historique. Unpublished PhD dissertation, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels.Google Scholar
  67. Sall, M. (2005). Cultural contacts and heritage in Senegambia. In Livingstone Smith, A., Bosquet, D. and Martineau, R. (eds), Pottery Manufacturing Processes : Reconstruction and Interpretation, British Archaeological Reports International Series 1349, Oxford, pp. 57–66.Google Scholar
  68. Schildkrout, E., Hellman, J. and Keim, C. (1989). Mangbetu Pottery: Tradition and Innovation in Northeast Zaïre. African Arts 22 (2): 38–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Schott, R. (1986). Töpferei bei den Lyela in Burkina Faso. Archiv für Völkerkunde 40: 5–34.Google Scholar
  70. Simmonds, D. (1984). Pottery in Nigeria. In Picton, J. (ed.), Earthenware in Asia and Africa, Percival David Foundation, London, pp. 54–92.Google Scholar
  71. Stark, M. (ed.) (1998). The Archaeology of Social Boundaries. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington.Google Scholar
  72. Sterner, J. and David, N. (1991). Gender and Caste in the Mandara Highlands: Northeastern Nigeria and Northern Cameroon. Ethnology 30 (4): 355–369.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Sterner, J. and David, N. (2003). Action on Matter: The History of the Uniquely African Tamper and Concave Anvil Pot-Forming Technique. Journal of African Archaeology 1: 3–38.Google Scholar
  74. Strother, Z.S. (1998). Inventing masks. Agency and history in the art of the Central Pende. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago.Google Scholar
  75. Strybol, J. (1985). Poterie domestique et poterie sacrée en pays Mumuye. Africa-Tervuren 31(1–4): 39–59.Google Scholar
  76. Thiam, M. (1991). La céramique au Sénégal: archéologie et histoire. Unpublished PhD dissertation, Université de Paris I-La Sorbonne, Paris.Google Scholar
  77. Tobert, N. (1988). The Ethno-Archaeology of the Zaghawa of Darfur (Sudan). British Archaeological Reports International Series 445, Oxford.Google Scholar
  78. Traoré, A. (1985). La mine d’argile est notre champ. CEDA, Abidjan.Google Scholar
  79. Vander Linden, M. (2001). Social dynamics and pottery distribution in the Faro Department, Northern Cameroon. The African Archaeological Review, 18(3): 135–153.Google Scholar
  80. Wallaert, H. (2000). Mains agiles, mains d’argile. Apprentissage de la poterie au Nord-Cameroun: modes d’acquisition of comportements techniques. Unpublished PhD. dissertation, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels.Google Scholar
  81. Wallaert, H. (2008). The way of the potter’s mother. Apprenticeship strategies among Dii potters from Cameroon, West Africa. In Stark, M., Bowser, B. and Horne, L. (eds), Cultural Transmission and Material Culture: Breaking Down Boundaries, The University of Arizona Press, Tucson, pp. 178–198.Google Scholar
  82. Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice. Learning, meaning, and identity. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  83. Woods, A.J. (1984). Methods of pottery manufacture in the Kavango region of Namibia: Two cases studies. In Picton, J. (ed.), Earthenware in Asia and Africa, Percival David Foundation, London, pp. 303–325.Google Scholar
  84. Zeebroek, R., Decroly, J.-M. and Gosselain, O.P. (2008) Casseroles, Légumes et Halloween. Une Approche Multiscalaire des Phénomènes de Diffusion. Techniques & Culture 51: 50–73.Google Scholar
  85. Zouré, H.A.V. (1999). Le travail de la poterie chez les Bisa du Burkina Faso. Anthropologie et Préhistoire 110: 119–129.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre d’anthropologie culturelleUniversité Libre de BruxellesBrusselsBelgium & GAES
  2. 2.University of the WitwatersrandJohannesburgSouth Africa

Personalised recommendations