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Entangled: An Archaeology of the Relationships between Humans and Things [Paperback]

Ian Hodder
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

May 8 2012 0470672129 978-0470672129
A powerful and innovative argument that explores the complexity of the human relationship with material things, demonstrating how humans and societies are entrapped into the maintenance and sustaining of material worlds

  • Argues that the interrelationship of humans and things is a defining characteristic of human history and culture
  • Offers a nuanced argument that values the physical processes of things without succumbing to materialism
  • Discusses historical and modern examples, using evolutionary theory to show how long-standing entanglements are irreversible and increase in scale and complexity over time
  • Integrates aspects of a diverse array of contemporary theories in archaeology and related natural and biological sciences
  • Provides a critical review of many of the key contemporary perspectives from materiality, material culture studies and phenomenology to evolutionary theory, behavioral archaeology, cognitive archaeology, human behavioral ecology, Actor Network Theory and complexity theory

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Frequently Bought Together

Entangled: An Archaeology of the Relationships between Humans and Things + Alien Phenomenology, or What It's Like to Be a Thing + Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things
Price For All Three: CDN$ 73.62

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Review

“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)

Review

“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


Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok book on material culture Jan. 13 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Hooder's book presents some interesting thoughts about things and the world that surrounds us, however his theories regarding entanglement tend to go on a tangent. As a scholar, I feel that this book is sometimes more about a personal point of view than on real ontology. Overall, this is a good book for those interested in the realm of material culture.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb, charming, essential work for any social scientist June 30 2012
By John McKnight - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
One of the best academic books I've ever read. Clear, charming, broad in scope and vision, with an amazing bibliography.

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.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We are all entangled with our things! April 13 2013
By Rob Swigart - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This theoretical book is a jargon-free and very readable account of an emerging approach to the complexity of human culture. Indeed, it contains passages of real poetry.

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.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Both Simple and Complex Jan. 8 2013
By William - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is a student review. Hodder has a way of explaining complex ideas in the simplest of terms for students to grasp the concept. That is why I loved this book. While there isn't anything I could really disagree with, it begs the question of "what now?" Everything is entangled, and those entanglements are endless within the landscape of human activity. Knowing that, then how is this applied to the archaeological record? Another question is the apparent missing correlation between population size and degree of entanglement, which seems obvious. Overall a great book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Creative contribution to archaeological and social theory Dec 1 2012
By Archaeology Scholar - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book will be prompting discussion for years to come. A powerful and coherent work of synthetic theory. This is a truly fresh and thought-provoking contribution to our understanding of the intersection of materiality, agency, and anthropology. This is the materiality theory for which we've all been waiting.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very good book--excellent bibliography Sept. 16 2012
By Pete - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
A very good book that shows the direction that archaeological theory has progressed since post-processual theory. The book covers very basic ideas of what I would call socio-objectivism that every archaeologist should consider when performing archaeological research. These basic ideas may easily be setting the stage for archaeological sustainability studies. Very good book with an excellent bibliography!!
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