Creating Material Worlds: The Uses of Identity in Archaeology
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DescriptionDespite a growing literature on identity theory in the last two decades, much of its current use in archaeology is still driven toward locating and dating static categories such as 'Phoenician', 'Christian' or 'native'. Previous studies have highlighted the various problems and challenges presented by identity, with the overall effect of deconstructing it to insignificance. As the humanities and social sciences turn to material culture, archaeology provides a unique perspective on the interaction between people and things over the long term. This volume argues that identity is worth studying not despite its slippery nature, but because of it. Identity can be seen as an emergent property of living in a material world, an ongoing process of becoming which archaeologists are particularly well suited to study. The geographic and temporal scale of the papers included is purposefully broad to demonstrate the variety of ways in which archaeology is redefining identity. Research areas span from the Great Lakes to the Mediterranean, with case studies from the Mesolithic to the contemporary world by emerging voices in the field. The volume contains a critical review of theories of identity by the editors, as well as a response and afterword by A. Bernard Knapp.
29 February 2016
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