The Archaeology of Politics: The Materiality of Political Practice and Action in the Past

Overview

The Archaeology of Politics is a collection of essays that examines political action and practice in the past through studies and analyses of material culture from the perspective of anthropological archaeology. Contributors to this volume explore a variety of multi-scalar relationships between past peoples, places, objects and environments. At stake in this volume is what it is that constitutes politics, its social and cultural location, fields of analysis, its materiality and sociology and especially its ...

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Overview

The Archaeology of Politics is a collection of essays that examines political action and practice in the past through studies and analyses of material culture from the perspective of anthropological archaeology. Contributors to this volume explore a variety of multi-scalar relationships between past peoples, places, objects and environments. At stake in this volume is what it is that constitutes politics, its social and cultural location, fields of analysis, its materiality and sociology and especially its position and possibilities as a conceptual and analytical category in archaeological investigations of past socio-cultural worlds. Our primary goals are twofold: the problematization and re-conceptualization of politics from its understanding as a reified essence or structure of political forms (e.g., a State) to a fluid, dynamic and culturally inflected set of practices; and, second, to consider politics' entanglement with the materiality of socio-cultural worlds at multiple-scales through the demonstration of innovative analytical approaches to the material record. The volume is a tightly integrated group of essays exploring an assortment of case studies that offer new theoretical insight to archaeological and historical analyses of politics.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781443830041
  • Publisher: Cambridge Scholars Publishing
  • Publication date: 8/1/2011
  • Pages: 380
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter G. Johansen is currently a Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada Post-doctoral Fellow at the Department of Anthropology, University of British Columbia, Canada. His research focuses on the archaeology of South India during the Neolithic through Early Historic Periods, and more generally on politics, social distinctions and inequalities, and landscape production in ancient and historical societies. He is the author of a number of peer-reviewed articles and edited book chapters including Landscapes, Monumental Architecture and Ritual (Journal of Anthropological Archaeology), Site Maintenance Practices and Settlement Social Organization in Iron Age Karnataka (Journal of Anthropological Archaeology), and Recasting the Foundations: New Approaches to Regional Understandings of South Asian Archaeology (Asian Perspectives). Andrew M. Bauer received his PhD from the University of Chicago, Illinois, USA, in 2010 and then joined the faculty of DePauw University, Indiana, as an Assistant Professor of Sociology and Anthropology. His research currently emphasizes the relationships between sociality, materiality, and landscape histories. His archaeological work is primarily based in India. He has authored or co-authored multiple peer-reviewed articles and edited contributions on the relationships between social histories and landscape histories, including Towards a Political Ecology in Early South India (Asian Perspectives), Producing Places and Producing Nature (Antiquity), and Human-Environment Interactions on the Upper Khuzestan Plains (Paleorient).

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Table of Contents

List of Figures vii

List of Tables xi

Preface xii

Introduction: Reconfiguring the 'Political' in the Reconstruction of Past Political Production Peter G. Johansen Andrew M. Bauer 1

Case Studies

Chapter 1 Small Change in Madagascar: Sacred Coins and Profane Coinage Susan Kus Victor Raharijaona 29

Chapter 2 Metals, Pigments, Ores and Assays: The Politics of Value in the Early Spanish Colony of New Mexico Noah Thomas 56

Chapter 3 Producing the Political Landscape: Monuments, Labour, Water and Place in Iron Age Central Karnataka Andrew M. Bauer 83

Chapter 4 The Politics of Locality: Pre-Inkan Social Landscapes in the Cusco Region, Peru Steven Kosiba 114

Chapter 5 Holding Down the Fort: Landscape Production and the Sociopolitical Dynamics of Late Bronze Age Fortress Regimes in the Southern Caucuses Ian Lindsay 151

Chapter 6 Practicing Social Difference, Producing Social Space: The Political Architectonics of Iron Age Settlement Places Peter G. Johansen 186

Chapter 7 Subjectivities and Spatiality in Indus Urban Forms: Mohenjo Daro, the Body and the Domestication of Waste Uzma Z. Rizvi 221

Chapter 8 Towards a Middle Range Theory of Household Politics: The Standardization of Decorative Motifs in Middle Post-Classic Mexico Elizabeth M. Brumfiel 245

Chapter 9 Standardization and Resistance: Changing Funerary Rites at Spiridonovka (Russia) during the Beginning of the Late Bronze Age Laura M. Popova Eileen M. Murphy Aleksandr A. Khokhlov 283

Chapter 10 Causalities and Models within the Archaeological Construction of Political Order on the Northwest Coast of North America Andrew Martindale Bryn Letham 323

Conclusion: Figuring the Political: The Stuff of Sovereignty in a Post-Evolutionary Archaeology Adam T. Smith 354

List of Contributors 363

Index 364

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