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Learning to see value: exchange and the politics of vision in a Chinese craft

Gowlland, Geoffrey (2009) Learning to see value: exchange and the politics of vision in a Chinese craft. Ethnos, 74 (2). pp. 229-250. ISSN 0014-1844

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Identification Number: 10.1080/00141840902940484


This article explores the relation between value and vision, or the ways in which seeing, seeing in a particular way, and failing to see, might all have economic consequences. I address these issues in the context of a discourse I heard from artisans producing zisha pottery, in the Jiangsu Province of China. This discourse concerned the consequences of the inability of purchasers of zisha pottery to 'see' the craft, and the need for clients to be taught to distinguish between apparently very similar pots, with the aim of promoting 'traditional' methods. The observation of interactions between artisans and their clients led me to suggest that one can fruitfully borrow insights from the anthropology of the senses and of learning to inform anthropological theories of value.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2009 Routledge
Divisions: Anthropology
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
N Fine Arts > NK Decorative arts Applied arts Decoration and ornament
Date Deposited: 06 Apr 2011 11:05
Last Modified: 20 Apr 2021 00:50

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