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Entangled: An Archaeology of the Relationships between Humans and Things Paperback – May 8 2012
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“Entangledmay be Ian Hodder’s most theoretically ecumenical book to date. The discussion of the various current approaches being used in archaeology, anthropology, and many other disciplines makes this an extremely valuable work . . . “Hodder has written a tremendously useful addition to the literature on the relationship of people and things that deserves close reading.” (Current Anthropology, 1 August 2013)
“Ian Hodder has written an extremely interesting, rigorously argued and intellectually adventurous book about the nature of things. . . Readers working across the social sciences and humanities, and particularly those working at the intersection of the physical and human sciences, will find the messy openness of Hodder’s book vibrant and compelling.” (Critical Quarterly, 2 July 2013)
“Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students, faculty, professionals.” (Choice, 1 May 2013)
“The quantity and diversity of Hodder's readings are simply astonishing. His new conception of material entanglements is going to change the way archaeologists understand their field.”
- Norman Yoffee, University of Michigan
“Entangled is nothing less than a reframing of archaeological enquiry into things. It is a fundamental, first-principles rethinking of how archaeologists should understand the world around them.”
- Matthew H. Johnson, Northwestern University
"This book is a provocative and exciting contribution to archaeological theory and beyond. Its central thesis is that entanglement is both a condition of being in the world and a process of linking entities together in networks or assemblages. In charting a course across material, social, and evolutionary domains, it provides a novel way of bridging the Great Divide between the social and natural sciences."
- Bob Preucel, University of Pennsylvania
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Hodder, an eminent archaeologist, presents a theory of the connections between humans and things which will become essential for any student of the social sciences. While his goal of "an archaeology of the relationships between humans and things" is to restore a respect for "thingness" outside of human networks, he presents a synthetic theory of those relationships which builds on, but avoids some notable shortcomings, of work in similar as well as widely diverse disciplines, including network theory, actor-network theory, and several flavors of contemporary evolutionary thinking.
Seriously, if you're a social scientist of any flavor, or just want to read academic work at its finest, pick this up right now. You're in for a mind-opening delight.
Entanglement is an approach to the ways humans and things are connected with and depend upon each other. A "tanglegram" shows how clay, bricks, food, wild animals, baskets, paints, weeds, storage rooms, ovens, and a myriad other "things" (including beliefs, ideologies, stories and other non-material objects) are connected through human manufacture, use, and disposal, and how they depend on one another. This is a promising approach to research, ripe for quantification and rigorous analysis, but for the lay reader the book offers a new way of thinking about the messy nature of our civilization, and offers a good explanation why we cannot go back to a simpler way of life. We are simply too entangled to back out, and have a tendency to try fixing things rather than get rid of them. Of course this just increases the entanglement.
Dr. Hodder directs a long-term archaeological project at Çatalhöyük, a UNESCO heritage site in central Turkey. Archaeology is the science (and art) of uncovering and examining the things people leave behind, and deducing from them how they lived and what they believed. Entanglement is a powerful addition to our understanding.