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Familiarity and uncertainty: designing and building bridges in the Kelabit Highlands of Borneo

Ewart, I. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9502-2338 (2010) Familiarity and uncertainty: designing and building bridges in the Kelabit Highlands of Borneo. In: European Association of Social Anthropologists: Crisis and Uncertainty, 24-27 August 2010, Maynooth, Ireland.

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Abstract/Summary

In a highland region of rural Borneo, a small community gathers together to build a novel type of suspension bridge for the first time, using imported materials. At the same time, they also build a traditional bamboo and rattan bridge, something they have done many times before. This article considers the villagers’ different approaches to these two projects, including the ways in which they are pre-conceived in advance. The uncertainties experienced in constructing the former required a series of innovative solutions developed on-the-ground and during construction. This contrasted with the ease and lack of excitement that epitomised the process of producing the more familiar bridge. Combining craftsmanship, engineering and industrialisation, the different ways of designing and building these two bridges are seen as part of the continual and mutual development of personal, environmental and material relations.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Science > School of the Built Environment > Construction Management and Engineering > Innovative and Sustainable Technologies
ID Code:97546

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