Focussing on embodied and material processes, and on practice rather than text, this comparative analysis challenges the underlying cognitive and word-centred model common to many approaches to communication. This authoritative but accessible book is an essential transdisciplinary overview for researchers and advanced students in language and communication, anthropology and cultural studies.
Many accounts of human communication suggest that we are limited to communicating through words, visual images, the mass media and by digital means. This perspective underestimates the multi-sensory qualities of much of our human interconnecting and the multiple sounds, touches, sights and material objects which humans use so creatively to interconnect both nearby and across space and time. Ruth Finnegan brings together research from linguistic and sensory anthropology, alternative approaches to 'material culture' and 'the body', non-verbal communication, cultural studies, computer-mediated communication, and illuminating work on animal communication. Examples from both western and non-western cultures together with plentiful illustrations enrich and deepen the analysis.
The book uncovers the amazing array of sounds, sights, smells, gestures, looks, movements, touches and material objects which humans use so creatively to interconnect both nearby and across space and time - resources consistently underestimated in those western ideologies that prioritise 'rationality' and referential language.
Ruth Finnegan offers us a splendid feast of ideas about the ways we communicate with each other.
WENDY JAMES, PROFESSOR, on COMMUNICATING