Title The Anthropology of Precious Minerals
Author Elizabeth Ferry, Annabel Vallard, Andrew Walsh
ISBN 9781487503178
List price USD 55.00
Price outside India Available on Request
Original price
Binding Hardbound
No of pages 216
Book size 159 x 229 mm
Publishing year 2020
Original publisher University of Toronto Press
Published in India by .
Exclusive distributors Viva Books Private Limited
Sales territory India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, .
Status New Arrival
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"The Anthropology of Precious Minerals highlights the fluid entanglements between humans and precious minerals. In doing this, the editors draw from history, archaeology, and contemporary ethnography, while several of the contributing authors draw from literary works in such ways that obscure the boundaries between the material and immaterial."

Nicole Smith, Department of Mining Engineering, Colorado School of Mines


"With distinct chapters, this volume conveys the dynamic and complex processes of valuation and circulation of precious minerals. I very much enjoyed this breadth. It illustrated the fascinating questions that arise in diverse but related instances."

Mette M. High, Department of Social Anthropology, University of St Andrews


"Sophisticated and fascinating, The Anthropology of Precious Minerals makes valuable contributions to several key theoretical issues in contemporary anthropology, and features notable scholarship and excellent prose."

Anne Meneley, Department of Anthropology, Trent University


Why do people single out gold, sapphires, diamonds, and other minerals as particularly “precious”? What makes precious minerals “precious”? Drawing from ethnographic and cross-cultural research, this collection of anthropological essays and case studies answers these questions by exploring humans’ multifaceted relationships with the minerals they deem “precious.”

The Anthropology of Precious Minerals addresses the entanglement of humans and minerals, with a particular focus on the practices of scrappers, miners, and hunters as they work to extract value. The editors draw from history, archaeology, and ethnography, and remind us that “preciousness” must always be understood in relation to complex cultural, political-economic, and semiotic systems of value.



Introduction: Engaging Precious Minerals (Andrew Walsh, Elizabeth Ferry, and Annabel Vallard)


Part One: Engaging Mineral Sources

Introduction to Part One: Scrappers, Miners, and Hunters (Susan D. Gillespie)

Chapter 1: "Check Out That Gold-Plated Board!" Scrapping Cellphones and Electronics in North America (Joshua A. Bell)

Chapter 2: What is "Artisanal" about "Artisanal Mining"? Reflections from Madagascar"s Sapphire Trade (Andrew Walsh)

Chapter 3: The Value and Social Lives of Alpine Crystals (Gilles Raveneau)


Part Two: Mineral Connections

Introduction to Part Two: Making Preciousness: Distinction and Refraction (Elizabeth Ferry)


Chapter 4: When Stones Become Gems: Valuations of Minerals in Thailand (Annabel Vallard)

Chapter 5: Transparent Minerals and Opaque Diamond Sources (Filipe Calv?o)

Chapter 6: Gold, Ontological Difference, and Object Agency (Les W. Field)


Afterword: Facets of Preciousness (Andrew Walsh, Elizabeth Ferry, and Annabel Vallard)




About the Editors:

Elizabeth Ferry is a professor in the Department of Anthropology at Brandeis University.

Annabel Vallard is a researcher at The National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS, France).

Andrew Walsh is an associate professor in the Department of Anthropology at Western University.

Target Audience:

People interested in history, archaeology, and anthropology.

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