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Towards virtual typology

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journal contribution
posted on 14.05.2019, 10:08 by Oliver J. T. Harris
To use category names should be a commitment to tracing the assemblages in which these categories gain a momentary hold (Tsing 2015, p. 29) Anna Beck’s paper is a welcome addition to the growing literature on assemblage theory in archaeology. It represents a detailed attempt to think through the implications of this approach for one of the most important areas of archaeological thought: typology. Building on the work of Chris Fowler (2017) and Gavin Lucas (2012) in particular, archaeologists are beginning to show the potential for linking cutting-edge theory with this most intransigent of archaeological concepts. Beck correctly skewers the way in which standard typological thinking rests upon the notion of an ‘ideal type’, the perfect Trelleborg house in her case, and how this representational, Platonic, mode of thinking, traps archaeologists in a limited and closed interpretive loop. As she rightly argues, a move to assemblage theory can help us make room for more complex and powerful descriptions that celebrate the heterogeneity and vibrancy of the past. This can be a world of shifting and mobile becomings, not static, closed off, and essentialised being. Typologies, as both Beck and Fowler (2017, p. 96) argue, are assemblages too.

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Citation

Norwegian Archaeological Review , Volume 51, 2018 - Issue 1-2

Author affiliation

/Organisation/COLLEGE OF SOCIAL SCIENCES, ARTS AND HUMANITIES/School of Archaeology and Ancient History/Core Staff

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Published in

Norwegian Archaeological Review

Volume

21

Issue

1-2

Publisher

Taylor & Francis (Routledge)

issn

1502-7678

Acceptance date

05/09/2018

Copyright date

2019

Available date

13/04/2020

Notes

The file associated with this record is under embargo until 18 months after publication, in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy. The full text may be available through the publisher links provided above.

Language

en

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