Feeling a way through: affective problem-solving in dressmaking

Prentice, Rebecca (2016) Feeling a way through: affective problem-solving in dressmaking. In: Marchand, Trevor H J (ed.) Craftwork as Problem Solving. Ashgate, Farnham, Surrey, pp. 169-182. ISBN 9781472442925

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This chapter contributes to our understanding of craftwork as a multifarious process of production that create interdependent affectivities between people and objects. Drawing on long-term anthropological research with dressmakers in Trinidad, West Indies, I explore the craft of garment production as a form of problem-solving that exemplifies the ingenuity and creative intelligence of dressmakers. Dressmaking requires the orchestration of relationships between people and the artefacts of production, as well as the careful management of the dressmaker’s own social performance, interiority, and techniques of making. Calling upon recent theories of affect in anthropology and sociology (Stewart, 2007; Moore, 2011; Navaro-Yashin, 2009), this chapter argues for the relevance of ‘feeling’ as a mode of diagnosis, problem-solving, and action. Recognising the relevance of feeling helps us to appreciate dressmakers’ practical expertise without drawing a dichotomy between the social and the technical.

Item Type: Book Section
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Anthropology
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology > GN301 Ethnology. Social and cultural anthropology > GN378 Collected ethnographies
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
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Depositing User: Rebecca Prentice
Date Deposited: 05 Jan 2016 12:03
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2016 12:03
URI: http://srodev.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/47229
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