Against Typological Tyranny in Archaeology

A South American Perspective

Editors: Gnecco, Cristóbal, Langebaek, Carl (Eds.)

  • ​Includes case studies from South America and most authors are from South America
  • Departs from traditional metropolitan dominance
  • Important for any decolonial/anticolonial consideration of archaeology  
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About this book

The papers in this book question the tyranny of typological thinking in archaeology through case studies from various South American countries (Venezuela, Colombia, Bolivia, Argentina, and Brazil) and Antarctica. They aim to show that typologies are unavoidable (they are, after all, the way to create networks that give meanings to symbols) but that their tyranny can be overcome if they are used from a critical, heuristic and non-prescriptive stance: critical because the complacent attitude towards their tyranny is replaced by a militant stance against it; heuristic because they are used as means to reach alternative and suggestive interpretations but not as ultimate and definite destinies; and non-prescriptive because instead of using them as threads to follow they are rather used as constitutive parts of more complex and connective fabrics. The papers included in the book are diverse in temporal and locational terms. They cover from so called Formative societies in lowland Venezuela to Inca-related ones in Bolivia; from the coastal shell middens of Brazil to the megalithic sculptors of SW Colombia. Yet, the papers are related. They have in common their shared rejection of established, naturalized typologies that constrain the way archaeologists see, forcing their interpretations into well known and predictable conclusions. Their imaginative interpretative proposals flee from the secure comfort of venerable typologies, many suspicious because of their association with colonial political narratives. Instead, the authors propose novel ways of dealing with archaeological data.

About the authors

Cristobal Gnecco is professor in the Department of Anthropology, Universidad del Cauca (Colombia), where he teaches issues related to the political economy of archaeology, discourses on the other, and geopolitics of knowledge.

Carl Langebaek is professor in the Department of Anthropology, Universidad de los Andes (Colombia), where he teaches archaeology and ethnohistory.

Table of contents (12 chapters)

  • Social Complexity in Ancient Amerindian Societies: Perspectives from the Brazilian Lowlands

    Barreto, Cristiana

    Pages 1-23

  • Blind Men and an Elephant: Exchange Systems and Sociopolitical Organizations in the Orinoco Basin and Neighboring Areas in Pre-Hispanic Times

    Gassón, Rafael A.

    Pages 25-42

  • Palenques and Palisades: A Revision of Social Complexity Issues in Contact-Period Eastern Venezuela

    Navarrete, Rodrigo

    Pages 43-56

  • Agricola est quem domus demonstrat

    Haber, Alejandro F.

    Pages 57-73

  • Social Space and the Archaeology of Inequality: Insights into Social Differences at Ambato Valley, Southern Andes, Argentina

    Laguens, Andrés

    Pages 75-98

Buy this book

eBook $99.00
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-4614-8724-1
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $129.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-4614-8723-4
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $129.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-4939-4764-5
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Against Typological Tyranny in Archaeology
Book Subtitle
A South American Perspective
Editors
  • Cristóbal Gnecco
  • Carl Langebaek
Copyright
2014
Publisher
Springer-Verlag New York
Copyright Holder
Springer Science+Business Media New York
eBook ISBN
978-1-4614-8724-1
DOI
10.1007/978-1-4614-8724-1
Hardcover ISBN
978-1-4614-8723-4
Softcover ISBN
978-1-4939-4764-5
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XVIII, 236
Number of Illustrations and Tables
24 b/w illustrations, 6 illustrations in colour
Topics