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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 77 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: "Bricolage" : BAH!  (Read 15776 times)
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Posts: 16490

« Reply #15 on: March 01, 2005, 07:44:21 PM »

Count me in on that one. I'm a big fan of doing terrible things to other languages with English. Long history of that in my chosen profession.

« Reply #16 on: March 03, 2005, 03:28:00 AM »

Quote from: LordSmerf
Let's find some authority here.  The Forge is pretty dang international, someone here must be from France.  Let's ask them...

Anyone?  What are the specific connotations of the word "bricolage" to a native French speaker?  When Levi-Strauss uses the word "bricolage" what exactly is he talking about?  The final product of the activity, the activity itself, either one, both of them at the same time?


I am no authority but I am French and I would say "bricolage" is definitely more the process than the end-product.

"Bricoler" is a common word which can mean "to arrange" (and it can also mean standard DIY, not only the McGuyverian improvisation with "contingent events", in spite of the Levi-Straussian usage).

BTW, Lévi-Strauss was not a deconstructionist at all, he was a Structuralist.

Posts: 864

« Reply #17 on: March 03, 2005, 04:49:06 AM »

Quote from: Vaxalon
What the word means to people in the broader world, is a kind of "found object" art or science, where you take bits and pieces of whatever you have around to make a gadget or work of art. It doesn't refer to ideas or concepts, but to real things, either practical or artistic. Also, the word doesn't refer to a process, but the result; a bricoleur doesn't engage in bricolage, he creates or builds a bricolage.


Quote from: Phersu
I am no authority but I am French and I would say "bricolage" is definitely more the process than the end-product.

Phersu, welcome to the Forge, and thanks for chiming in.  I speak no French, so it's good to have someone who's more of an authority than I am...

So, it seems that "bricolage" is in fact a process, so there's no need to change things for that.  We still have the problem of "bricolage" referring (traditionally) to physical objects not concepts, but in all honesty I'm fine with appropriating the term to refer to mental constructs.

If it's still an issue of contention I'm willing to entertain further discussion at this point...


Current projects: Caper, Trust and Betrayal, The Suburban Crucible
Christoph Boeckle

Posts: 455

Geneva, Switzerland

« Reply #18 on: March 03, 2005, 11:11:26 AM »

Coming from the french speaking part of Switzerland, I'll chime in with Phersu, except that as I understand the word (but that can come from regional differences, which do exist between french from France and that from Switzerland), it also means the finished product.
It often has either a childish connotation (little kids do bricolages at school as gifts for mother day, for example), or a negative one (bricolage is often used to designate poorly or hastily assembled stuff).

Here I give you the definition from an online dictionnary, supported by the University of Nancy and the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (French National Center of Scientific Research):

Which I would translate as:

- Manual activity accomplished at home as a distraction or as a means to save money. In particular, manual activity chosen in class or in a workshop, by a child.
- Work of a part-time amateur and of a technical aspect without waranty. That's bricolage. Poor work.

So, the idea to call the rpg-related concept bricoling, however funny it sounds to me, is probably a good idea. Except if someone has to translate it one day...

I haven't yet read the relevant threads in enough detail to offer an alternative. Anyway, people are becoming used to call it bricolage anyway, and isn't it the way a word is used that gives it its definition?


Posts: 1619

« Reply #19 on: March 03, 2005, 12:13:32 PM »

Yes, hence my comment that I'm coming in too late to actually effect a change.

"In our game the other night, Joshua's character came in as an improvised thing, but he was crap so he only contributed a d4!"
                                     --Vincent Baker
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters

Posts: 10459

« Reply #20 on: March 03, 2005, 01:50:52 PM »

How about the term Accretion? With the verb being to Accrete. Not sure what a person Accreting would be called, but I don't thnk you need it in this context, either.


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GB Steve

Posts: 429

« Reply #21 on: March 04, 2005, 01:18:29 AM »

Quote from: Artanis
A. [Correspond à bricoler I A] Fait de se livrer à des travaux manuels accomplis chez soi comme distraction ou par économie.

Which I would translate as:

- Manual activity accomplished at home as a distraction or as a means to save money. In particular, manual activity chosen in class or in a workshop, by a child.
That's DIY, like I said. I'm fluent in French too, having lived there for 10 years.

And here's the most popular French site for bricolage.

Posts: 2807

« Reply #22 on: March 04, 2005, 02:42:26 AM »

Well all this ceretainly explains why trying to investigate bricolage as art technique hit a brick wall.

Thats aid though I'm not sure DIY carries the right connotations in English.  It emphasises the individualism of the act rather than the methods and approaches of adapting existing materials.

Impeach the bomber boys:

"He who loves practice without theory is like the sailor who boards ship without a rudder and compass and never knows where he may cast."
- Leonardo da Vinci
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