IN DEFENSE OF THINGS ARCHAEOLOGY AND THE ONTOLOGY OF OBJECTS ARCHAEOLOGY IN SOCIETY

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In Defense Of Things

Author : Bjørnar Olsen
ISBN : 0759119325
Genre : Philosophy
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In much recent thinking, social and cultural realms are thought of as existing prior to—or detached from—things, materiality, and landscape. It is often assumed, for example, that things are entirely 'constructed' by social or cultural perceptions and have no existence in and of themselves. Bjornar Olsen takes a different position. Drawing on a range of theories, especially phenomenology and actor-network-theory, Olsen claims that human life is fully mixed up with things and that humanity and human history emerge from such relationships. Things, moreover, possess unique qualities that are inherent in our cohabitation with them—qualities that help to facilitate existential security and memory of the past. This important work of archaeological theory challenges us to reconsider our ideas about the nature of things, past and present, demonstrating that objects themselves possess a dynamic presence that we must take into account if we are to understand the world we and they inhabit.
Category: Philosophy

Archaeology

Author : Bjørnar Olsen
ISBN : 9780520274174
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 28.75 MB
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"This book exhorts the reader to embrace the materiality of archaeology by recognizing how every step in the discipline's scientific processes involves interaction with myriad physical artifacts, ranging from the camel-hair brush to profile drawings to virtual reality imaging. At the same time, the reader is taken on a phenomenological journey into various pasts, immersed in the lives of peoples from other times, compelled to engage their senses with the sights, smells, and noises of the publics and places whose remains they study. This is a refreshingly original and provocative look at the meaning of the material culture that lies at the foundation of the archaeological discipline."--Michael Brian Schiffer, author of The Material Life of Human Beings "This volume is a radical call to fundamentally rethink the ontology, profession, and practice of archaeology. The authors present a closely reasoned, epistemologically sound argument for why archaeology should be considered the discipline of things, rather than its more commonplace definition as the study of the human past through material traces. All scholars and students of archaeology will need to read and contemplate this thought-provoking book."--Wendy Ashmore, Professor of Anthropology, UC Riverside "A broad, illuminating, and well-researched overview of theoretical problems pertaining to archaeology. The authors make a calm defense of the role of objects against tedious claims of 'fetishism.'"--Graham Harman, author of The Quadruple Object
Category: Social Science

Relational Archaeologies

Author : Christopher Watts
ISBN : 9781135903190
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 83.6 MB
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Many of us accept as uncontroversial the belief that the world is comprised of detached and disparate products, all of which are reducible to certain substances. Of those things that are alive, we acknowledge that some have agency while others, such as humans, have more advanced qualities such as consciousness, reason and intentionality. So deeply-seated is this metaphysical belief, along with the related distinctions we draw between subject/object, mind/body and nature/culture that many of us tacitly assume past groups approached and apprehended the world in a similar fashion. Relational Archaeologies questions how such a view of human beings, ‘other-than-human’ creatures and things affects our reconstruction of past beliefs and practices. It proceeds from the position that, in many cases, past societies understood their place in the world as positional rather than categorical, as persons bound up in reticular arrangements with similar and not so similar forms regardless of their substantive qualities. Relational Archaeologies explores this idea by emphasizing how humans, animals and things come to exist by virtue of the dynamic and fluid processes of connection and transaction. In highlighting various counter-Modern notions of what it means ‘to be’ and how these can be teased apart using archaeological materials, contributors provide a range of approaches from primarily theoretical/historicized treatments of the topic to practical applications or case studies from the Americas, the UK, Europe, Asia and Australia.
Category: Social Science

Archaeology And The Senses

Author : Yannis Hamilakis
ISBN : 9781107728943
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 61.46 MB
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This book is an exciting new look at how archaeology has dealt with the bodily senses and offers an argument for how the discipline can offer a richer glimpse into the human sensory experience. Yannis Hamilakis shows how, despite its intensely physical engagement with the material traces of the past, archaeology has mostly neglected multi-sensory experience, instead prioritising isolated vision and relying on the Western hierarchy of the five senses. In place of this limited view of experience, Hamilakis proposes a sensorial archaeology that can unearth the lost, suppressed, and forgotten sensory and affective modalities of humans. Using Bronze Age Crete as a case study, Hamilakis shows how sensorial memory can help us rethink questions ranging from the production of ancestral heritage to large-scale social change, and the cultural significance of monuments. Hamilakis points the way to reconstituting archaeology as a sensorial and affective multi-temporal practice.
Category: Social Science

Thinking Through Material Culture

Author : Carl Knappett
ISBN : 9780812202496
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 20.36 MB
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Material culture surrounds us and yet is habitually overlooked. So integral is it to our everyday lives that we take it for granted. This attitude has also afflicted the academic analysis of material culture, although this is now beginning to change, with material culture recently emerging as a topic in its own right within the social sciences. Carl Knappett seeks to contribute to this emergent field by adopting a wide-ranging interdisciplinary approach that is rooted in archaeology and integrates anthropology, sociology, art history, semiotics, psychology, and cognitive science. His thesis is that humans both act and think through material culture; ways of knowing and ways of doing are ingrained within even the most mundane of objects. This requires that we adopt a relational perspective on material artifacts and human agents, as a means of characterizing their complex interdependencies. In order to illustrate the networks of meaning that result, Knappett discusses examples ranging from prehistoric Aegean ceramics to Zande hunting nets and contemporary art. Thinking Through Material Culture argues that, although material culture forms the bedrock of archaeology, the discipline has barely begun to address how fundamental artifacts are to human cognition and perception. This idea of codependency among mind, action, and matter opens the way for a novel and dynamic approach to all of material culture, both past and present.
Category: Social Science

Entangled

Author : Ian Hodder
ISBN : 9780470672112
Genre : History
File Size : 37.75 MB
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A powerful and innovative argument that explores the complexity of the human relationship with material things, demonstrating how humans and societies are entrapped into the maintenance and sustaining of material worlds Argues that the interrelationship of humans and things is a defining characteristic of human history and culture Offers a nuanced argument that values the physical processes of things without succumbing to materialism Discusses historical and modern examples, using evolutionary theory to show how long-standing entanglements are irreversible and increase in scale and complexity over time Integrates aspects of a diverse array of contemporary theories in archaeology and related natural and biological sciences Provides a critical review of many of the key contemporary perspectives from materiality, material culture studies and phenomenology to evolutionary theory, behavioral archaeology, cognitive archaeology, human behavioral ecology, Actor Network Theory and complexity theory
Category: History

Understanding Material Culture

Author : Ian Woodward
ISBN : 9781848607262
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 33.39 MB
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"In his interdisciplinary review of material culture, Ian Woodward goes beyond synthesis to offer a theoretically innovative reconstruction of the field. It is filled with gems of conceptual insight and empirical discovery. A wonderful book." - Jeffrey C. Alexander, Yale University "A well-grounded and accessible survey of the burgeoning field of material culture studies for students in sociology and consumption studies. While situating the field within the history of intellectual thought in the broader social sciences, it offers detailed and accessible case studies. These are supplemented by very useful directions for further in-depth reading, making it an excellent undergraduate course companion." - Victor Buchli, University College London Why are i-pods and mobile phones fashion accessories? Why do people spend thousands remodelling their perfectly functional kitchen? Why do people crave shoes or handbags? Is our desire for objects unhealthy, or irrational? Objects have an inescapable hold over us, not just in consumer culture but increasingly in the disciplines that study social relations too. This book offers a systematic overview of the diverse ways of studying the material as culture. Surveying the field of material culture studies through an examination and synthesis of classical and contemporary scholarship on objects, commodities, consumption, and symbolization, this book: introduces the key concepts and approaches in the study of objects and their meanings presents the full sweep of core theory - from Marxist and critical approaches to structuralism and semiotics shows how and why people use objects to perform identity, achieve social status, and narrativize life experiences analyzes everyday domains in which objects are important shows why studying material culture is necessary for understanding the social. This book will be essential reading for students and researchers in sociology, anthropology, cultural studies, consumer behaviour studies, design and fashion studies.
Category: Social Science

Ruin Memories

Author : Bjørnar Olsen
ISBN : 9781317695806
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 86.74 MB
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Since the nineteenth century, mass-production, consumerism and cycles of material replacement have accelerated; increasingly larger amounts of things are increasingly victimized rapidly and made redundant. At the same time, processes of destruction have immensely intensified, although largely overlooked when compared to the research and social significance devoted to consumption and production. The outcome is a ruin landscape of derelict factories, closed shopping malls, overgrown bunkers and redundant mining towns; a ghostly world of decaying modern debris normally omitted from academic concerns and conventional histories. The archaeology of the recent or contemporary past has grown fast during the last decade. This development has been concurrent with a broader popular, artistic and scholarly interest in modern ruins in general. Ruin Memories explores how the ruins of modernity are conceived and assigned cultural value in contemporary academic and public discourses, reassesses the cultural and historical value of modern ruins and suggests possible means for reaffirming their cultural and historic significance. Crucial for this reassessment is a concern with decay and ruination, and with the role things play in expressing the neglected, unsuccessful and ineffable. Abandonment and ruination is usually understood negatively through the tropes of loss and deprivation; things are degraded and humiliated while the information, knowledge and memory embedded in them become lost along the way. Without even ignoring its many negative and traumatizing aspects, a main question addressed in this book is whether ruination also can be seen as an act of disclosure. If ruination disturbs the routinized and ready-to-hand, to what extent can it also be seen as a recovery of memory as exposing meanings and presences that perhaps are only possible to grasp at second hand when no longer immersed in their withdrawn and useful reality? Anybody interested in the archaeology of the contemporary past will find Ruin Memories an essential guide to the very latest theoretical research in this emerging field of archaeological thought.
Category: Social Science

Things In Motion

Author : Rosemary A. Joyce
ISBN : 1938645502
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 73.60 MB
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"The contributors to Things in Motion, collectively, demonstrate the dynamic capacity of things in motion, from the point where things emerge from source material, to their circulation in the contemporary world, including their extended circulation through reproduction in other media. The various chapters show that examining the itineraries of things multiplies the assemblages things form and multiplies the sites at which we can recognize things in motion. None of the things discussed seem to ever have died. Their itineraries are continued by their movement in and out of museums and curation facilities, where many of them have come to rest temporarily, the circulation of their images, and their adaptation in sometimes unexpected contemporary material culture. Their itineraries also include the scholarship about them, to which this volume contributes, making it another site assembled by these active things"--Provided by publisher.
Category: Social Science