- What is theory for?
- Who is theory for?: The social relevance of a critical approach to archaeology
- Theory in the Field
- Archaeological Theories and Archaeological Sciences
- Words and Things: Technology and Belief
- Theory in the Public Eye: Archaeology and the Moving Image in Britain
- Colonial and Post-colonial Archaeologies
- Evolutionary Archaeologies
- Marxist Archaeologies
- Emerging from Theoretical Anarchy in Anthropological Archaeology
- Structuralism and its Archaeological Legacy
- Postmodern Archaeologies
- Becoming Human
- Landscape and Environment
- Material Culture
- Signs and Symbols
- Bodies and persons
- On Practice
- Archaeology, Theory, and War-Related Violence: Theoretical Perspectives on the Archaeology of Warfare and Warriorhood
- Empires and Imperialism
- Belief and Ritual
- Positivist and Post-Positivist Philosophy of Science
- Darwinism and its Influences
- Continental Philosophies
- Post-colonial theory
- Evolution, agency, and objects: Rediscovering classical pragmatism
Abstract and Keywords
In this chapter, we discuss the relationship between the tradition of American philosophical pragmatism and contemporary archaeological theory. Our focus is on the work of G.H. Mead, whose social pragmatism has played an important role in the recent neo-pragmatist revival. We begin by explaining the reasons for the highly selective appropriation of his ideas in sociology. We then suggest an alternative reading of Mead. This alternative reading explores two fundamental categories in Mead’s thinking: his conception of agency and his theory of objects. We conclude by showing the fruitful intersections between these two aspects of Mead’s work and recent post-processual archaeology.
Filipe Carreira da Silva, Affiliated Lecturer in Sociology, University of Cambridge / Research Fellow, Institute of Social Sciences of the University of Lisbon.
Patrick Baert, Reader in Social Theory, University of Cambridge.
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