42nd Theoretical Archaeology Group conference

  • Juan Mendoza (talare)

Aktivitet: Deltagit i eller arrangerat evenemangDeltagit i konferens


Life has never been more central to archaeology. From the extension of the concept from the organic to the inorganic suggested by the popularity of new materialism, via the continued prominence of evolutionary approaches, to the threat to all life posed by the climate crisis, life has never seemed a more apposite topic for debate at TAG. Plus this is TAG 42 and 42, as we all know, is the answer to the question of life the universe and everything

This presentation proposes an alternative approach to the agency of things to that preconized by many contemporary scholars. We aim to contribute to a better understanding of human material engagement and, more generally, of our relationship with artefacts. From the perspective of cognitive semiotics, agents are considered to be situated beings, who have particular ways of acting and being-in-the-world, while artefacts are resources for meaning-making and agency, which operate in different ways from proper agents. The agency of artefacts is derived, that is, it depends on agents’ actions; either such actions are remote intentions or are required for the artefact to work at the moment of use. Thus, the relation between artefacts and agents is asymmetrical. The attribution of derived agency to artefacts allows persons to expand their own agency. We propose to call this phenomenon enhanced agency, that is, the prosthetic incorporation of artefacts attached to their original agentive capabilities. In the present paper, we support our argument by means of a field study concerned with contextually-engaged observations of the design and manufacturing of artefacts in Amazonia.
Period2021 dec. 18
Typ av evenemangKonferens
PlatsStorbritannienVisa på karta