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
File Size : 76.83 MB
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This important work of archaeological theory challenges us to reconsider our ideas about the nature of things, past and present, arguing 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

In Defense Of Things

Author : Bjornar Olsen
ISBN : 0759119317
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 65.65 MB
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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 : 78.19 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

Entangled

Author : Ian Hodder
ISBN : 9780470672129
Genre : History
File Size : 27.15 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

Thinking Through Material Culture

Author : Carl Knappett
ISBN : 9780812202496
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 28.29 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

Agency In Archaeology

Author : Marcia-Anne Dobres
ISBN : 9781317959403
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 74.24 MB
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Agency in Archaeology is the first critical volume to scrutinise the concept of agency and to examine in-depth its potential to inform our understanding of the past. Theories of agency recognise that human beings make choices, hold intentions and take action. This offers archaeologists scope to move beyond looking at broad structural or environmental change and instead to consider the individual and the group Agency in Archaeology brings together nineteen internationally renowned scholars who have very different, and often conflicting, stances on the meaning and use of agency theory to archaeology. The volume is composed of five theoretically-based discussions and nine case studies, drawing on regions from North America and Mesoamerica to Western and central Europe, and ranging in subject from the late Pleistocene hunter-gatherers to the restructuring of gender relations in the north-eastern US.
Category: Social Science

Understanding Material Culture

Author : Ian Woodward
ISBN : 9781848607262
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 71.55 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

The Oxford Handbook Of Southwest Archaeology

Author : Barbara Mills
ISBN : 9780199978427
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 49.40 MB
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The American Southwest is one of the most important archaeological regions in the world, with many of the best-studied examples of hunter-gatherer and village-based societies. Research has been carried out in the region for well over a century, and during this time the Southwest has repeatedly stood at the forefront of the development of new archaeological methods and theories. Moreover, research in the Southwest has long been a key site of collaboration between archaeologists, ethnographers, historians, linguists, biological anthropologists, and indigenous intellectuals. This volume marks the most ambitious effort to take stock of the empirical evidence, theoretical orientations, and historical reconstructions of the American Southwest. Over seventy top scholars have joined forces to produce an unparalleled survey of state of archaeological knowledge in the region. Themed chapters on particular methods and theories are accompanied by comprehensive overviews of the culture histories of particular archaeological sequences, from the initial Paleoindian occupation, to the rise of a major ritual center in Chaco Canyon, to the onset of the Spanish and American imperial projects. The result is an essential volume for any researcher working in the region as well as any archaeologist looking to take the pulse of contemporary trends in this key research tradition.
Category: Social Science

In Defense Of Things

Author :
ISBN : OCLC:1045515475
Genre : Actor-network theory
File Size : 90.97 MB
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Category: Actor-network theory

Ruin Memories

Author : Bjørnar Olsen
ISBN : 9781317695806
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 42.1 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