Gradhiva n°6


To see and recognise, the object of a misunderstanding 

Fall 2007

Special issue edited and presented by Jean-Pierre Goulard

The study of taxonomies, their relationships to social organization and more generally to culture, constitutes some of the classic issues of Anthropology. Since Mauss, Durkheim or Lévy-Bruhl, it is the cultural variability of categories which is at issue. This special survey deals, in an interdisciplinary way, with the problem of matching the ideal and the real, with a focus on the study of misunderstandings, mistakes and ambiguities. How do we recognize an object, an image or a person? What is the origin of the maladjustment of categories to things that they should be able to define them? How does recognition occur, in spite of everything, that is, the identification of a natural or social object, up to its inclusion in a pre-existing conceptual matrix? How does the table of indigenous categories behave when it has to integrate the unique, the singular or the radically new, without falling apart? From the Amazon to the Solomon Islands, by way of Europe and Dahomey, it is a perspective on perspective to which the authors are inciting us here.

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SPECIAL ISSUE: To see and recognise, the object of a misunderstanding 

  • The man of quality, by Laurent Barry
  • The invention of prehistoric rock art. History of a visual experience, by Béatrice Fraenkel
  • The savage in general, by Jean-Pierre Goulard
  • Yurupari, the figures of the devil. The misunderstandings of the different points of view, by Dimitri Karadimas
  • Sacred curios. About the changing status of objects in a Melanesian society (Aorigi, East Solomon Islands) by Sandra Revolon
  • From the trophy to the artwork : the journey of five artefacts from the Kingdom of Abomey, by Gaëlle Beaujean-Baltzer

Studies and Essays

  • The “Ethiopian chronicles” by Marcel Griaule. The ethnology, the literature and the document in 1934, by Vincent Debaene
  • Six characters in search of objects. History of the archeological collection of the Real Expedición Anticuaria in New Spain, by Marie-France Fauvet-Berthelot, Leonardo López Luján et Susana Guimarães

scientific column


  • 136 pages (120 x 127 cm)
  • 78 illustrations
  • ISBN : 978-2-915133-67-7
  • 18 €