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The birth of design : a Kuna theory of body and personhood.

Fortis, P. (2010) 'The birth of design : a Kuna theory of body and personhood.', Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute., 16 (3). pp. 480-495.

Abstract

This article explores the concept of ‘design’ (narmakkalet) held by the Kuna people of Panamá. It demonstrates that the native concept of design and its relation to the human body is central to Kuna ideas concerning personhood. The main argument is that design is an attribute of the body which enables the creation of persons through the transformation of their relationship with animal entities. Through analysing the particular case of ‘amniotic designs’ (kurkin narmakkalet), which are sometimes visible on the heads of neonates, the article shows that designs provide a visual representation of the relationship between human beings and animals, and as such are integral in the formation of persons among the Kuna. To comprehend Kuna aesthetics, it is suggested, we need to look at the way Amerindians conceive the person, at how bodies are created, and at the relationships that human beings and animals entertain.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9655.2010.01635.x
Publisher statement:This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Fortis, P. (2010), The birth of design: a Kuna theory of body and personhood. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 16 (3): 480–495, which has been published in final form at http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9655.2010.01635.x. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.
Record Created:19 May 2014 10:35
Last Modified:19 May 2014 11:48

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