- 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
This chapter is deliberately very simple. It should be read as an introduction, a first step, into the more complex issues discussed elsewhere in this Handbook. It defines theory, and discusses theory’s relationship to practice. It sees theory not as good or as bad, but simply as necessary. It examines the case both for and against explicit reflection on theory, and the case both for and against the existence of specifically archaeological theory. In conclusion, the chapter argues for theory as part of a wider project of learning about the world.
Matthew H. Johnson, Professor, Department of Anthropology, Northwestern University.
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