Art in global context: an evolutionary/functionalist perspective for the 21st century

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Dissanayake, Ellen: Art in global context: an evolutionary/functionalist perspective for the 21st century, International Journal of Anthropology 18(4):245-258. Special Issue “Conceptualizing World Art,” edited by Eric Venbrux and Pamela Rosi.



Regarding the arts as something peopledo — as behaviors, rather than the residue or artifacts of behavior — makes possible a theoretical grounding about their nature and importance, an endeavor that current anthropology of art has largely abandoned. A reconsideration of the suspect and largely discarded terms “functionalism” and “evolutionism” is presented in light of current evolutionary thinking. It is suggested that a contemporary reformulation of these concepts, illustrated by the author's Darwinian or “adaptationist” perspective on art, supports aims and claims of current anthropology of art, and contributes new focus and direction to its endeavors.

Extended Abstract


Used References

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