Jizz and the joy of pattern recognition : virtuosity, discipline and the agency of insight in UK naturalists’ arts of seeing

Ellis, Rebecca (2011) Jizz and the joy of pattern recognition : virtuosity, discipline and the agency of insight in UK naturalists’ arts of seeing. Social Studies of Science, 41 (6). pp. 769-790. ISSN 0306-3127

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Approaches to visual skilling from anthropology and STS have tended to highlight the forces of discipline and control in understanding how shared visual accounts of the world are created in the face of potential differences brought about by multi-sensorial perception. Drawing upon a range of observational and interview material from an immersion in naturalist training and biological recording activities between 2003 and 2009, I focus upon jizz, a distinct form of gestalt perception much coveted by naturalist communities in the UK. Jizz is described as a tacit and embodied way of seeing that instantaneously reveals the identity of a species, relying upon but simultaneously suspending the arduous and meticulous study of an organism’s diagnostic characteristics. I explore the potential and limitations of jizz to allow for both visual precision and an enchanted and varied form of encounter with nature. In so doing, I explore how the specific characteristics of wild, intangible and irreverent virtuoso performance work closely together with disciplining taxonomic standards. As such, discipline and irreverence work together, are mutually enabling, and allow for an accommodation rather than a segregation of potential difference brought about by perceptual variety.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Social Studies of Science
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The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Social Studies of Science, 41, (6), 2011, © SAGE Publications Ltd, 2011 by SAGE Publications Ltd at the Social Studies of Science page: http://sss.sagepub.com/ on SAGE Journals Online: http://online.sagepub.com/
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? biodiversityperception virtuosity visual skilling uk naturalistsenvironmental sciencehistory and philosophy of sciencehistorysocial sciences(all)ge environmental sciences ??
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29 Jun 2011 15:48
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29 Nov 2023 00:11