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The Art of Livelihood: Creating Expressive Agri-Culture in Rural Mali Paperback – August 31, 2009

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 206 pages
  • Publisher: Carolina Academic Press (August 31, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594607311
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594607318
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,243,570 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"Stephen Wooten's innovative study shows that the pursuit of livelihoods and the creation of art forms in the Mande Plateau are a unified practice, with common aesthetic principles. The study of agriculture is understood in relation to local philosophical and aesthetic ideas, while the study of masquerade is securely embedded in the social and economic life of the region. The result is a uniquely integrated and rounded portrait of a community simultaneously improvising and recreating core values in the face of changing conditions. Based on long-term engagement with southwestern Mali, this book shows how socio-economic and cultural analysis can fruitfully be brought together."
-- Karin Barber, Professor of Cultural Anthropology, University of Birmingham (UK) and editor of Africa: the Journal of the International African Institute

"Owing to the extraordinary richness and profound historical significance of Mande culture, several decades of scholars have explored endlessly intriguing avenues of inquiry and rummaged in many a dusty corner of the subject's more esoteric aspects. Over the years many distinguished studies have emerged, and now Stephen Wooten's The Art of Livelihood can be added to a list of works essential not only to research specialists, but also to any serious student of West African culture. Exhibiting superb scholarship, impeccable methodology and refreshingly clear analysis, the author illuminates the blend of art, spirituality and social dynamics that form the basis of strategies for grassroots economic survival, escorting his readers on a sensitive, colorful journey into the endlessly challenging world of Mande village farmers."
-- David C. Conrad, Professor Emeritus, State University of New York at Oswego, and former President of the Mande Studies Association

"Taking his cue from his Bamana interlocutors, Stephen Wooten embraces an aesthetic framework that understands both farming and masquerade as performance. As a result, this book demonstrates not just that these two seemingly separate domains are interconnected, but also that both farming and masquerade are sites for creative agency in the lives of post-colonial, rural Mande people. It offers artful, detailed, narrative descriptions of Bamana daily life and ritual activities, as well as incisive analysis that synthesizes ethnographic research findings with the abundant literature on Mande social structure and aesthetics. Essential reading for scholars and students interested in performance studies, practice theory, aesthetic anthropology, African art history, and African studies."
-- Daniel B. Reed, Associate Professor of Folklore and Ethnomusicology at Indiana University and author of Dan Ge Performance

About the Author

Stephen Wooten teaches in the Departments of International Studies & Anthropology at the University of Oregon.

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Format: Paperback
Dr. Wooten invites his readers into the world of the Mande Plateau, subtly moving us beyond the usual assumptions and bringing us to a better understanding of how the farming community there shapes and changes its own traditions. He argues that livelihood is an art, worked and reworked on a continual basis. Wooten's own personality shows through his research, making The Art of Livelihood an entertaining read.
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