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The Archaeology of Politics

The Materiality of Political Practice and Action in the Past

Editor(s): Andrew M. Bauer, Peter G. Johanson

Book Description

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.


ISBN-13: 978-1-4438-3004-1
ISBN-10: 1-4438-3004-6
Date of Publication: 01/08/2011
Pages / Size: 380 / A5
Price: £44.99


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).