Materielle Kultur in Afrika

Dieser Text ist in: Anthropos, Vol. 98 (1), 2003, S. 19-30 veröffentlicht.
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Although rarely considered as a corpus of documentation, there is a considerable amount of ethnographical research on material culture in Africa. These monographic works, which are briefly presented, are at least partly an outcome of the tradition in German language of culture history research. One of the common aspects repeatedly treated in these texts is the question what typical aspects of a given local culture are. Other important aspects of material culture are almost neglected, as none of these works examines contexts systematically as a constituting part of material culture. In contrast of these older works, this is an achievement of the more recent studies on material culture in Africa, published in English. These recent works fit into the theoretical framework of the revived interest in material culture. But they have one methodological shortcoming. They usually limit their fields of documentation to a part of the material culture only. The selection of a group of objects – which is contradictory to the older holistic approach – bears the risk of misunderstanding the meaning of material culture in everyday life.

key words: African material culture; methodology of anthropological research; history of anthropology

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