Agency Uncovered: Archaeological Perspectives on Social Agency, Power, and Being Human

Agency Uncovered: Archaeological Perspectives on Social Agency, Power, and Being Human

by Andrew Gardner
     
 

This book questions the value of the concept of 'agency', a term used in sociological and philosophical literature to refer to individual free will in archaeology. On the one hand it has been argued that previous generations of archaeologists, in explaining social change in terms of structural or environmental conditions, have lost sight of the 'real people' and

…  See more details below

Overview

This book questions the value of the concept of 'agency', a term used in sociological and philosophical literature to refer to individual free will in archaeology. On the one hand it has been argued that previous generations of archaeologists, in explaining social change in terms of structural or environmental conditions, have lost sight of the 'real people' and reduced them to passive cultural pawns, on the other, introducing the concept of agency to counteract this can be said to perpetuate a modern, Western view of the autonomous individual who is free from social constraints. This book discusses the balance between these two opposites, using a range of archaeological and historical case studies, including European and Asian prehistory, classical Greece and Rome, the Inka and other Andean cultures. While focusing on the relevance of 'agency' theory to archaeological interpretation and using it to create more diverse and open-ended accounts of ancient cultures, the authors also address the contemporary political and ethical implications of what is essentially a debate about the definition of human nature.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A useful indicator of the current status of agency theory in archaeology, because it shows some of the interpretive enlightenment that agency theory can provide." —Anthropological Forum

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781598742114
Publisher:
Left Coast Press
Publication date:
07/01/2004
Series:
University College London Institute of Archaeology Publications
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
268
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

Andrew Gardner is Lecturer in the Archaeology of the Roman Empire at the Institute of Archaeology, UCL. He has worked previously at the University of Reading, the University of Leicester, and Cardiff University. His publications include the edited volume Agency Uncovered: Archaeological Perspectives on Social Agency, Power and Being Human (Left Coast Press), and his research interests center upon the social dynamics of Roman imperialism, the role of material culture in the expression of cultural identity, and the ways in which people in different societies understand time.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >