The Work of Art by Michael Jackson
Rethinking the Elementary Forms of Religious Life (Insurrections: Critical Studies in Religion, Politics, and Culture)

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For dedicated readers with the patience for philosophy and oblique reasoning, the work offers intriguing insights into how we might understand art and religion as two modes of the same creative impulse.
-Publishers Weekly

Synopsis

How are we to think of works of art? Rather than treat art as an expression of individual genius, market forces, or aesthetic principles, Michael Jackson focuses on how art effects transformations in our lives. Art opens up transitional, ritual, or utopian spaces that enable us to reconcile inward imperatives and outward constraints, thereby making our lives more manageable and meaningful. Art allows us to strike a balance between being actors and being acted upon.

Drawing on his ethnographic fieldwork in Aboriginal Australia and West Africa, as well as insights from psychoanalysis, religious studies, literature, and the philosophy of art, Jackson deploys an extraordinary range of references―from Bruegel to Beuys, Paleolithic art to performance art, Michelangelo to Munch―to explore the symbolic labor whereby human beings make themselves, both individually and socially, out of the environmental, biographical, and physical materials that affect them: a process that connects art with gestation, storytelling, and dreaming and illuminates the elementary forms of religious life.

 

About Michael Jackson

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Michael Jackson is Distinguished Professor of World Religions at Harvard Divinity School. internationally renowned for his pioneering use of phenomenological and pragmatist methods in ethnography and for establishing the field of existential anthropology, he is a leading figure in contemporary philosophical anthropology and widely praised for his innovations in ethnographic writing. His most recent books include Walking to Pencarrow: Selected Poems (2016) and The Wherewithal of Life: Ethics, Migration, and the Question of Wellbeing (2013).
 
Published October 11, 2016 by Columbia University Press. 256 pages
Genres: Religion & Spirituality, Arts & Photography, Law & Philosophy.
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Publishers Weekly

Above average
on Aug 05 2016

For dedicated readers with the patience for philosophy and oblique reasoning, the work offers intriguing insights into how we might understand art and religion as two modes of the same creative impulse.

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