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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An inspiring meshwork of ideas, 6 Aug 2010
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This review is from: Lines: A Brief History (Paperback)
In `Lines' Tim Ingold retraces the contours of a momentous techno-cultural evolution by investigating the status and role of an element that is so pervasive in our lifeworld that it becomes invisible: lines and surfaces. This evolution can be described as a movement from a topian, place-making `line of wayfaring' to the utopian, straight line of modernity to the dystopian, fragmented line of postmodernity (quoting K. Olwig). From this central premise, Ingold spins an argument that goes in different directions, connecting practices as diverse as writing, reading, singing, drawing, weaving, building, dwelling, mapping and travelling. His anthropological lens draws in examples from cultures and ethnicities around the world. Ingold observes, hypotheses, connects. Although it is clear that the author deplores our dwindling capacity for establishing life-giving connections with places that give us sustenance - in favour of a more opportunistic, functional way of being in the world - he is careful not too take a too strong position. The purpose of the argument is not make a point, but to establish a contingent, evolving meshwork of ideas. Ingold: "Lines are open-ended, and it is this open-endedness - of lives, relationships, histories, and processes of thought - that I wanted to celebrate." Even so, Ingold's way of building an argument is careful, sober and scholarly. A more spiritual side to the discussion shines through in his accessible and humane style of writing. In the themes and concepts surveyed, particularly also in the pivotal role assigned to technology (the printing press, the typewriter, the computer), Ingold's `Lines' connects to the (arguably more polemic) work of media theorist Vilem Flusser. There are also obvious connections to the work of Deleuze and De Landa. This is a book that by its very nature could connect to a wide range of interdisciplinary research efforts. It is also recommended to a more casual reader in search of unusual and inspiring ideas.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant journey, 25 Feb 2009
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This review is from: Lines: A Brief History (Paperback)
Ingold's book is a curious hybrid. It's not as informal as its introduction suggests, yet its no academic treatise, there's no tightly argued point here (which, as Ingold notes at the end, may in fact BE the point), instead, it is an exploration.

The chapters overlap only slightly and range wildly through various academic disciplines, with sometimes only very tenuous connections, yet each one is an incredible journey through ideas and concepts never before considered. Some are stronger than others, but the vague overarching concept never ceases to be compelling. And the final chapter, 'How the line became straight' is, while not a conclusion, an appropriate and wonderful culmination of the exploration.

It will definitely make you look differently, at something, for me it's traveling, and story telling, others may be inspired by other aspects, but I cannot imagine anyone who wouldn't be changed in some way by the journey of this book. And I can't imagine Ingold would have wanted anything more.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written, wise., 11 Feb 2014
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Ms. Angela C. Brew "AB" (London UK) - See all my reviews
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More a philosophy, than a history of line. He describes how we can view our lives as meshes of lines we draw, to connect ourselves in space and time, to others and to our physical world. He proposes that anthropology use drawing as its methodology, from the broad view of line drawing as a way to research, approach and understand the world, in an engaged and open-ended / open-minded way. Lines are contingent, we wander along them, not knowing where they will end. Makes a lot of sense, and clearly written.
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Lines: A Brief History
Lines: A Brief History by Tim Ingold (Paperback - 3 May 2007)
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