Creating Material Worlds: The Uses of Identity in Archaeology [Paperback]

Anthony Russell (Editor); Elizabeth Pierce (Editor); Adrián Maldonado (Editor); Louisa Campbell (Editor)

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ISBN: 9781785701801 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Year of Publication: 2016 | Language: English 192p, H240 x W170 (mm)

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Creating Material Worlds


Despite 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.

Table of Contents

Introduction: creating material worlds, Adrián Maldonado and Anthony Russell
1. Becoming post-human: identity and the ontological turn
Oliver J.T. Harris
2. Materialising the afterlife: the long cist in early medieval Scotland
Adrián Maldonado
3. Move along: migrant identities in Scandinavian Scotland
Erin Halstad McGuire
4. Smoke and mirrors: conjuring the transcendental subject
John L. Creese
5. Drinking Identities and Changing Ideologies in Iron Age Sardinia
Jeremy Hayne
6. Impressions at the edge: belonging and otherness in the post-Viking North Atlantic
Elizabeth Pierce
7. We are not you: being different in Bronze Age Sicily
Anthony Russell
8. There is no identity: discerning the indiscernible
Dene Wright
9. Food, Identity and Power Entanglements in South Iberia between the 9th-6th Centuries BC
Beatriz Marín-Aguilera
10. Proportionalising practices in the past: Roman fragments beyond the frontier
Louisa Campbell
11. Afterword by A. Bernard Knapp

Reviews & Quotes

"The volume demonstrates how successfully archaeologists can talk about identity in lots of different contexts and with lots of different evidence. This is what is important right now."
Andrew Gardner
European Journal of Archaeology (28/07/2017)

"This is an excellently conceived and considered volume. The chapters are not only produced with thoughtfulness and intelligence, but provide a certain piquancy and challenge to the theoretical approach of those working throughout archaeology and material cultural studies."
Katherine Weikert
Antiquaries Journal (10/12/2018)

"At times philosophical (touching on Descartes and Gilles Deleuze) and perhaps best suited to those with some grasp of such theoretical terminology as the ‘ontological turn’, this book delivers some fascinating insights."
Lucia Marchini
Current Archaeology

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