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Miniaturisation: a study of a material culture practice among the indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest

Davy, JW; (2017) Miniaturisation: a study of a material culture practice among the indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

Museums house collections of miniature objects produced by the indigenous peoples of the American Pacific Northwest. Overlooked and subjected to academic seriation which categorised them as expressions of transcultural inauthenticity, they have never previously been the subject of systematic study. This project develops a new methodology for the study of these miniatures, viewing miniaturisation as an imaginative agent of communication in human social relations, which uses combinations of affordances and semiotics to distribute ideological information to knowledgeable audiences. Through a detailed affordance study in combination with fieldwork in four indigenous communities, miniaturisation becomes understood as an effective method of communicating threatened cultural information across long distances and time spans, incorporating diverse commercial, pedagogical, cultural and magical motivations. By understanding miniaturisation in this way, this project can fundamentally change how museums approach imaginative material culture, generate substantial new insights into the ideological aspects of Native Northwest Coast material production and provide tantalising glimpses of emotion and motivation among historic carving traditions.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Miniaturisation: a study of a material culture practice among the indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest
Event: UCL (University College London)
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1565316
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