Read e-book online Archaeological Semiotics PDF

By Robert W. Preucel

ISBN-10: 1557866570

ISBN-13: 9781557866578

This ebook explores the a number of ways that archaeologists provide aspiring to the previous, highlighting debates over the ontological and epistemological prestige of the self-discipline and comparing present responses to those concerns.

  • Explains why absolute foundations in archaeology are insufficient and appears on the possible choices.
  • Highlights debates over the ontological and epistemological prestige of the self-discipline and evaluates present responses to those concerns.
  • Defines a brand new house for archaeological discourse and dialogue.

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Sample text

Two contributions explicitly raised aspects of semiotics. Daniel Miller (1982, 1985) drew on semiotics to offer a critique of structuralism and functionalism. He questioned whether “the division within linguistics of syntax, semantics and pragmatics, which is in any case hard to maintain, would be at all plausible in the study of material forms, and the actual use of any such ‘grammar’ would probably be limited in archaeology and social anthropology to the study of formal systems such as designs” (Miller 1982:21).

While archaeology has engaged with both Saussurian and Peircian versions, until 14 Archaeological Semiotics recently its most sustained focus has been on structuralism and its subsequent poststructuralist critiques. From the first Cambridge conference, there has been an emphasis on approaches that go beyond structuralism such as Giddens’s structuration theory and Bourdieu’s theory of practice. This has led to explorations of text, writing the past in the present, and rhetorical tropes and has even generated critiques which have questioned the very possibility of doing archaeology.

Yet another important development in semiotics is biosemiotics. This subfield can be defined as the study of living systems from a semiotic perspective. Thomas Sebeok (1979) has identified the origins of biosemiotics in the work of the German biologist Jakob von Uexküll, who was one of the founders of ethology in the first half of the twentieth century. Sebeok (1986) coined the term zoosemiotics to describe the study of animal behavior in 1986. According to biosemiotics, all processes occurring in nature at whatever level, from the single cell to the ecosystem, can be analyzed in terms of sign-processes.

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Archaeological Semiotics by Robert W. Preucel


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