In Communicating , the anthropologist Ruth Finnegan considers the many and varied modes through which we humans communicate and the multisensory resources we draw on. The book uncovers the amazing array of sounds, sights, smells, gestures, looks, movements, touches and material objects which humans use so creatively to interconnect both nearby and across space and time - resources consistently underestimated in those western ideologies that prioritise 'rationality' and referential language. Focusing on embodied and material processes, and on practice rather than text, this comparative analysis counters the cognitive and word-centred emphases of many current accounts of communication. With examples from many cultures and historical periods, Finnegan draws together recent research in anthropology, sociolinguistics, cultural studies, cultural history and animal communication to highlight the multidimensional character of human communicating.
An essential transdisciplinary overview for researchers and advanced students in anthropology, communication and cultural studies, this authoritative but accessible book will also fascinate anyone with an interest in the remarkable ways we communicate.
Ruth Finnegan is Visiting Research Professor in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the Open University.