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Negotiating License and Limits: expertise and innovation in Djenne's building trade

Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2009) 'Negotiating License and Limits: expertise and innovation in Djenne's building trade.' Africa, 79 (1). pp. 71-91.

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During a mason’s apprenticeship in Djenné, the young man acquires not only technical skills, but also appropriate social knowledge and a bodily comportment. Together, these inform his professional performance as a craftsman. Recognised masters of the trade creatively innovate in a manner that effectively expands the discursive boundaries of tradition and what is popularly accepted as ‘authentic’ Djenné architecture. Based on ethnographic work amongst Djenné’s masons, this paper explores the complex construction of ‘expert status’, and the negotiation of license and limits for innovation in this internationally renowned and protected historic urban context.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: masonry, Mali, innovation, expertise
SOAS Departments & Centres: Legacy Departments > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Department of Anthropology and Sociology
ISSN: 00019720
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): https://doi.org/10.3366/E0001972008000612
Depositing User: Trevor Marchand
Date Deposited: 11 Feb 2009 11:22
URI: http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/6430

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