Print version ISSN 0104-7183
ALVES, Caleb Faria. The agency of Gell in the anthropology of art.Translated byBruno Reinhardt. Horiz.antropol. [online]. 2008, vol.4Selected edition, pp. 0-0. ISSN 0104-7183.
While delineating the parameters for an anthropology of art, Alfred Gell's famous book, Art and Agency, overlooked, for the most part, anthropological tradition. This raises questions as embarrassing as they are ignored: is it possible to produce good theory with no references to achieved knowledge in this particular field? Are the subjects within anthropology so differently pursued that it is not possible to refer to a common way of approaching them? What exactly do we lose with such a self-centered narrative? My point of view is that theory cannot be treated like a list of sentences that can be added to one another, according to their isolated importance. This article proposes an analysis of Alfred Gell's narrative, of how he connects its propositions. I will examine, overall, his readings, the authors he quotes like Peirce, Sally Price and others, and how he fits them along his argumentation. The objective of this exercise is to put in evidence, beyond Gell's definitions, some conceptions about art contained in his formulations, and to enlarge the range of potential references available for an anthropology of art.
Keywords : Alfred Gell; anthropological theory; anthropology of art; symbolic conventions.