Êtres vivants/artefacts, processus vitaux/processus techniques : remarques à propos d’un cadran analytique

Proceedings edited by Perig Pitrou, Ludovic Coupaye and Fabien Provost

International conference organized on the 9th and 10th of April 2014 at the musée du quai Branly by Perig Pitrou, Ludovic Coupaye and Laura Rival, in partnership with the Laboratoire d’anthropologie sociale, the Pépinière interdisciplinaire CNRS-PSL « Domestication et fabrication du vivant », the Department of research and education of the musée du quai Branly, the Fyssen Foundation and the City of Paris.

With contributions by Ludovic Coupaye, Roy Ellen, Carole Ferret, Eduardo Kac, Frédéric Keck, Emma Kowal, Dominique Lestel, Doyle McKey, Perig Pitrou, Joanna Radin, Laura Rival, Rupert Stasch and Nancy J. Turner.

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In spite of the differences that separate living beings and artefacts, human societies frequently attempt to account for certain vital processes –such as growth, reproduction, animation– by making use of to the analogies that they present with technical processes, as we can see in the case of creation myths. Beyond these similarities, it is particularly interesting to notice that such processes are articulated in diverse ways, whether we observe agricultural, horticultural or pastoral activities, the incorporation of artefacts (transplantation, ornament), the transformation –be it ritual or not– of living beings into artefacts, or biomimicry. The plurality of actions, of fabrication or domestication, thanks to which humans exert their power on living beings, reflects certain conceptions of life which vary in function of the fields of practice, historical eras and cultures. Following an interdisciplinary and comparative approach which relies on investigations carried out in both Western and non-Western societies, this conference was offering its participants to begin the exploration of this multiplicity.

Certain presentations of the conference led to publications in journals and are therefore not included in these proceedings.

Houdart, Sophie
2015 « Petits récits destinés à joindre les deux bouts des particules au cosmos – en passant par la Suisse », Gradhiva 22 : 106-135. Read

Stépanoff, Charles
2015 « Transsingularities : the cognitive foundations of shamanism in Northern Asia », Social Anthropology 23 (2) : 169-185. Read