Anthropocentricity and the Archaeological Record: Towards a Sociology of Things

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Abstract

Recent years witnessed an assurgent criticism of anthropocentrism in the social sciences, arguing for more balanced approaches to the study of humans and non-humans as equally responsible for the constitution of society. These claims lean heavily on philosophical grounds, noting that the focus on the human subject is guided by modernist binary oppositions and produces an inappropriate image of society. However, the problems anthropocentricity poses for archaeology are unique, and these received little attention. It is argued that efforts to discover the human subject forces archaeologists to continuously compensate for its absence. A shift of focus from the nexus of humans and things to the nexus of things and other things is proposed, arguing that the relationships among the various components and features of the archaeological record embody social relations in themselves.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)180-195
Number of pages16
JournalNorwegian Archaeological Review
Volume47
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 3 Jul 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014, © 2014 Norwegian Archaeological Review.

Keywords

  • Actor-network theory
  • Anthropocentrism
  • Archaeology
  • inter-artefactual domain
  • sociology of things

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology

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