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The Problem with Beauty: An Anthropological Perspective

Küchler, S; (2018) The Problem with Beauty: An Anthropological Perspective. In: Bunn, S, (ed.) Anthropology and Beauty: From Aesthetics to Creativity. Routledge: London, UK.

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Abstract

This chapter argues that it is beauty's intuitive and yet inter-subjective response which has been the chief reason for the lack of studies of beauty in anthropology. By tracing the nature of the response to the work of pattern in connecting the inner world of the mind to the lived-in world, it also argues that anthropology can find a way to engage with beauty ethnographically and comparatively. Alain Badiou's idea that the mathematical nature of formalization both enables recognition of the similar and also the imagination of the new should be of profound interest to anthropologists and neuroscientists intent on understanding the difference the work of pattern makes to society. As anthropologists educated in the era of hostility towards comparativism, much of our interest in beauty tends to lie in the idea that the diversity of its articulation shows up the social nature of the ideas and actions that inform its manifestations.

Type: Book chapter
Title: The Problem with Beauty: An Anthropological Perspective
DOI: 10.4324/9781315681566-2
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315681566-2
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10082549
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