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Lines: A Brief History

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  198 ratings  ·  18 reviews
What do walking, weaving, observing, storytelling, singing, drawing and writing have in common?

The answer is that they all proceed along lines. In this extraordinary book Tim Ingold imagines a world in which everyone and everything consists of interwoven or interconnected lines and lays the foundations for a completely new discipline: the anthropological archaeology of the
Paperback, 186 pages
Published July 1st 2007 by Routledge (first published May 8th 2007)
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Apr 09, 2018 rated it liked it
I have to admit that initially I had some problems with Ingold's approach: this is obviously not a history of "the line" (as the subtitle suggests). And his approach is so fragmentary and loose that I got lost a bit in his detailed analyses of musical notation, the technique of writing and printing, and the design of genealogical family trees, etc. What also always bothers me in the work of anthropologists is the antagonism they at all costs want to prove between Western modernity and traditiona ...more
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, circuitous `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 differen ...more
Jul 02, 2012 rated it liked it
useful if wondering about lines is your thing
I also feel we are all "wayfarers and not navigators".

Tim Ingold case for lines is quite strong and fascinating - what an entertaining rabbit hole to fall into. But so is the case for circles and ellipses by many others. It is however my belief that eventually, everybody will arrive to the conclusion that both are right - in the form of spirals.

I am also fascinated by some of his ideas regarding weaving, e.g. "threading, twisting and knotting of fibres were among the most ancient of human arts,
Bill Brydon
Oct 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arts, theory
"Thus the anatomical gaze, not unlike that of the shaman, resolves bodily surfaces into their constituent threads. But whereas the shaman heals by dropping lines into the body, the Western surgeon proceeds in the opposite direction, stitching up the lines he already finds within the body and whose ruptures are the cause of the malaise, so as to reconstitute the surfaces of the whole." ...more
Nov 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
A very interesting read, Tim Ingold does as he states right at the beginning: the scope is so wide that he can only compile an overview. I wished sometimes to get more in-depth information on specific views and thematic.
Michael Harvey
Dec 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
In this book Tim Ingold examines line making in the fields of drawing, storytelling, weaving, observing and writing. Lines can be threads (in space) or traces (on a surface) and are the fundamental ingredient of the lived world to the extent that the study of peoples and things amounts to the study of lines.

The lines in question are emphatically not the abstracted straight lines of Euclidean geometry, the line seen on a map or the straight line as seen in much modernist art and architecture. It
The concept of lines that Tim Ingold introduces is interesting and does really deserve to be taken up and tested/applied by researchers in various fields also outside of anthropology. His concept doesn't build on the established 2- and 3-dimension treatise of texture and surfaces, but rather begins by itself and redefines all that it comes across to form a tentative, yet detailed, method of perspection (if I can call it that).
Tim Ingold is rather obsessed with lines, but he does bring some inter
Rodrigo ChM
Oct 13, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: inglaterra
Las líneas representan una forma de concebir el movimiento como contenido de vida, de lo que parte Ingold para connotar a modo introductorio, sus consideraciones en torno a los nudos, los trazados, las mallas, etc. Valiéndose de análisis y descripciones etnográficas de algunos mundos periféricos al parámetro occidental, Ingold presenta la matriz cultural colonialista que equiparó la linea como movimiento con la noción de rectitud, "símbolo virtual" de la modernidad, de donde se desprenden intere ...more
Boyne Narongdej
A thought-provoking book. It never occurred to me that 'lines' are so ubiquitous. The author gives a profound account of what is constituted as 'lines' (thread, trace, crack, crevice and so on) including imaginary 'lines' we are continually creating but often blind to their existence. Also, how the stories of 'lines' are recounted in relation to writing, drawing, storytelling, plotting, to say the least, is so captivating. I wonder if the idea of 'lines' in other Asian societies would run in the ...more
Sé que volveré a él, aunque solo sea por la cantidad de ejemplos interesantísimos que continuamente cita y explica, y estoy convencida de que es uno de esos libros en los que todo el mundo puede encontrar algo que le fascine por completo. Por esas dos razones se lo recomendaría (y lo haré) a cualquiera. Aún con todo, creo que a veces se aventura demasiado en sacar conclusiones y sus planteamientos me resultan un tanto caóticos, a pesar de lo mucho que intenta simplificarlos.

(PD: Aunque me haya
Cathy Graham
Oct 30, 2017 rated it did not like it
The idea of wayfaring is fine. There are some interesting moments, but for the most part, this book dragged. If he could use a page instead of a sentence, he did so. Too much time spent on his Lines and not enough getting to the point.
May 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
After reading this book, I don't think I'll ever see walking the same way again. Definitely an interesting read. ...more
Rahul Chodankar
Mar 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Very few books have the ability to affect us in a significant way. This book is one of them
Dimitris Hall
Dec 10, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Just realised I never reviewed this. Lines was suggested to me by my professor when I was back in university Despina Catapoti. Ingold has a way with innovative writing about anthropology, culture and human affairs and this was one of those books. I like it when writers look for ways to connect fields that had never been connected previously. Music, writing, threads (which are added, whereas tracks are subtracted), constellations, maps? Enjoyable and intelligent.
Mar 20, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: inf
I think this is a text best read in conjunction with Carey's Communication as Culture, Revised Edition: Essays on Media and Society, but it's still an enjoyable read. ...more
Jul 20, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: office
it might be called a comparative anthropology of the line...(p.1)
"traces, threads, surfaces" (p.39)
Jun 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
a great reading for architects
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Tim Ingold (born 1948) is a British social anthropologist, currently Chair of Social Anthropology at the University of Aberdeen. He was educated at Leighton Park School and Cambridge University. He is a fellow of the British Academy and of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. His bibliography includes The Perception of the Environment: Essays in Livelihood, Dwelling and Skill, Routledge, 2000, which is ...more

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