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

the_archaeology_of_politics book cover image
Co-edited with Peter G. Johansen
Cambridge Scholars Publishing
2011

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.