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14. The Way Things Are...

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1. Title Title of document 14. The Way Things Are... - Regional Approaches to Society and Complexity
2. Creator Author's name, affiliation, country A. Bernard Knapp; University of Glasgow;
3. Subject Discipline(s) Archaeology
4. Subject Keyword(s) John F. Cherry; Appadurai; The Social Life of Things; archaeometallurgy; Bronze Age Cyprus; material agency; material culture
5. Subject Subject classification archaeology
6. Description Abstract Appadurai’s edited volume The Social Life of Things (1986) first sought to highlight multiple ways in which ‘things’, like people, have active social lives, even biographies. Since then, this train of thought has taken multiple turns, and gone through many diversions and amplifications to, amongst others, agency, materiality and object/material agency, the ‘cognitive life of things’, human-thing ‘entanglements’, ‘symmetrical’ archaeology and the ‘new materialisms’. The end result appears to be a sweeping critique of ‘anthropocentricity’, in which it is argued that the archaeological study of cultures need not have any reference to humans, whether agents, individuals, subjects, or collectivities, but instead must focus on the nexus amongst things. Things, then, are not just tokens or surrogates for human acts or activities, but rather act as material agents in their own right. Taking some materials from archaeometallurgy — specifically that of Bronze Age Cyprus as known from regional archaeological survey and excavation — as my point of discussion, this paper critiques the overall notion of ‘material agency’ and considers the cultural biography of metallurgical ‘things’, seeking to separate the chaff of materiality from the wheat of material culture.
7. Publisher Organizing agency, location Equinox Publishing Ltd
8. Contributor Sponsor(s)
9. Date (YYYY-MM-DD) 01-Jan-2018
10. Type Status & genre Peer-reviewed Article
11. Type Type
12. Format File format PDF
13. Identifier Uniform Resource Identifier
14. Identifier Digital Object Identifier 10.1558/equinox.30817
15. Source Journal/conference title; vol., no. (year) Equinox eBooks Publishing; Regional Approaches to Society and Complexity
16. Language English=en en
18. Coverage Geo-spatial location, chronological period, research sample (gender, age, etc.)
19. Rights Copyright and permissions Copyright 2014 Equinox Publishing Ltd