Remember Me
Or use your Academic/Social account:


Or use your Academic/Social account:


You have just completed your registration at OpenAire.

Before you can login to the site, you will need to activate your account. An e-mail will be sent to you with the proper instructions.


Please note that this site is currently undergoing Beta testing.
Any new content you create is not guaranteed to be present to the final version of the site upon release.

Thank you for your patience,
OpenAire Dev Team.

Close This Message


Verify Password:
Verify E-mail:
*All Fields Are Required.
Please Verify You Are Human:
fbtwitterlinkedinvimeoflicker grey 14rssslideshare1
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Languages: English
Types: Article
Subjects: CC, DE
Archaeologists who seek to examine people's roles in past societies have long assumed, consciously or unconsciously, the existence of individuals. In this study, we explore various concepts and dimensions of ‘the individual’, both ethnographic and archaeological. We show that many protagonists in the debate over the existence of ‘individuals’ in prehistory use the same ethnographic examples to argue their positions. These positions range from the claim that any suggestion of individuals prior to 500 years ago simply projects a construct of western modernity onto the past, to the view that individual identities are culturally specific social constructs, both past and present. Like most contributors to the debate, we too are sceptical of an unchanging humanity in the past, but we feel that thinking on the topic has become somewhat inflexible. As a counterpoint to this debate, therefore, we discuss Bourdieu's concept of habitus in association with Foucault's notion of power. We conclude that experiencing oneself as a living individual is part of human nature, and that archaeologists should reconsider the individual's social, spatial and ideological importance, as well as the existence of individual, embodied lives in prehistoric as well as historical contexts.
  • The results below are discovered through our pilot algorithms. Let us know how we are doing!

    • Anderson, P., 1984. Modernity and revolution. New Left Review I/144, 96-113.
    • Bachand, H., R.A. Joyce & J.A. Hendon, 2003. Bodies moving in space: ancient Mesoamerican human sculpture and embodiment. Cambridge Archaeological Journal 13(2), 238-47.
    • Bakhtin, M.M., 1981. The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays. Austin (TX): University of Texas Press.
    • Barret, J.C., 2001. Agency, the duality of structure, and the problem of the archaeological record, in Archaeological Theory Today, ed. I. Hodder. Cambridge: Polity Press, 141-64.
    • Bentley, G.C., 1987. Ethnicity and practice. Comparative Studies in Society and History 29, 24-55.
    • Berman, M., 1982. All that is Solid Melts into Air: the Experience of Modernity. New York (NY): Simon & Schuster.
    • Bourdieu, P., 1977. Outline of a Theory of Practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    • Bourdieu, P., 1990. The Logic of Practice. Cambridge: Polity Press.
    • Broodbank, C., 2000. An Island Archaeology of the Early Cyclades. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    • Brück, J., 2001. Monuments, power and personhood in the British Neolithic. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 7, 649-67.
    • Busby, C., 1997. Permeable and partible persons: a comparative analysis of gender and body in south India and Melanesia. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 3, 261-78.
    • Butler, J., 1997. Excitable Speech: a Politics of the Performative. London: Routledge.
    • Chapman, J., 2000. Fragmentation in Archaeology. London: Routledge.
    • Cheater, A., 1999. Power in the postmodern era, in The Anthropology of Power, ed. A. Cheater. London: Routledge, 1-12.
    • Cherry, J.F., 1992. Beazley in the Bronze Age? Reflections on atribution studies in Aegean prehistory, in EIKON, Aegean Bronze Age Iconography: Shaping a Methodology, eds. R. Lafineur & J.L. Crowley. (Aegaeum 8.) Liège: Université de Liège, 123-44.
    • Comarof, J.L. & J. Comarof, 1992. Ethnography and the Historical Imagination. Boulder (CO): Westview Press.
    • Conkey, M.W. & C.A. Hastorf (eds.), 1990. The Uses of Style in Archaeology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    • Cooper, J.S., 1981. Gilgamesh and Agga: a review article. Journal of Cuneiform Studies 33, 224-41.
    • David, B., 2005. Review of J. Thomas, Archaeology and Modernity. European Journal of Archaeology 8, 193-4.
    • Dietler, M. & I. Herbich, 1998. Habitus, techniques, style: an integrated approach to the social understanding of material culture and boundaries, in The Archaeology of Social Boundaries, ed. M.T. Stark. Washington (DC): Smithsonian Institution Press, 232-63.
    • Dobres, M.-A., 2000. Technology and Social Agency: Outlining a Practice Framework for Archaeology. Oxford: Blackwell.
    • Dobres, M.-A. & J. Robb (eds.), 2000. Agency in Archaeology. London: Routledge.
    • Duhard, J.-P., 1990. Le corps féminin et son langage in dans l'art paléolithique. Oxford Journal of Archaeology 9, 241-53.
    • Duhard, J.-P., 1993. Upper Paleolithic figures as a reflec - tion of human morphology and social organisation. Antiquity 67, 83-91.
    • Fabian, J., 1994. Ethnographic objectivity revisited: from rigor to vigor, in Rethinking Objectivity, ed. A. Megill. Durham (NC): Duke University Press, 81-108.
    • Fisher, G. & D. Di Paolo Loren, 2003. Embodying identity in archaeology: introduction. Cambridge Archaeological Journal 13(2), 225-30.
    • Foucault, M., 1978. The History of Sexuality: an Introduction. London: Peregrine.
    • Foucault, M., 1979. Governmentality.Ideology and Consciousness 6, 5-21.
    • Foucault, M., 1982. The subject and power, inMichel Foucault: Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics, eds. H. Dreyfus & P. Rabinow. Brighton: Harvester, 208-26.
    • Foucault, M., 1988. Social security, inMichel Foucault: Politics, Philosophy, Culture, ed. L.D. Kritzman. London: Routledge, 159-77.
    • Fowler, C., 2004. The Archaeology of Personhood. London: Routledge.
    • Frankel, D., 1991. Ceramic variability: measurement and meaning, in Cypriot Ceramics: Reading the Prehistoric Record, eds. J.A. Barlow, D. Bolger & B. Kling. (University Museum Monograph 74.) Philadelphia (PA): University of Pennsylvania Museum, 241-52.
    • Frankel, D., 2005. Becoming Bronze Age: acculturation and enculturation in third millennium bc Cyprus, in Archaeological Perspectives on the Transmission and Transformation of Culture in the Eastern Mediterranean, ed. J. Clarke. Oxford: Oxbow, 18-24.
    • Fukuyama, F., 2006. After the Neocons: America at the Cross - roads. New Haven (CT): Yale University Press.
    • Gardner A., 2004a. Introduction: social agency, power and being human, in Agency Uncovered: Archaeological Perspectives on Social Agency, Power and Being Human, ed. A. Gardner. London: UCL Press, 1-15.
    • Gardner A., 2004b. Agency and community in 4th century Britain: developing the structurationist project, in Agency Uncovered: Archaeological Perspectives on Social Agency, Power and Being Human, ed. A. Gardner. London: UCL Press, 33-49.
    • Gerratana, V., 1975. Antonio Gramsci: quaderni del carcere. Turin: Einaudi.
    • Gillespie, S.D., 2001. Personhood, agency, and mortuary ritual: a case study from the ancient Maya. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 20, 73-112.
    • Gosden, C., 2004. Archaeology and Colonialism: Culture Contact from 5000 bc to the Present. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    • Hall, M., 2000. Archaeology and the Modern World: Colonial Transcripts in South Africa and Chesapeake. London: Routledge.
    • Hamilakis, Y., M. Pluciennik & S. Tarlow (eds.), 2002. Thinking through the Body: Archaeologies of Corporeality. New York (NY): Kluwer/Plenum.
    • Harvey, D., 1973. Social Justice and the City. London: Arnold.
    • Harvey, D., 2000. Spaces of Hope. Berkeley (CA): University of California Press.
    • Hayden, B., 2001. Richman, poorman, beggarman, chief: the dynamics of social inequality, in Archaeology at the Millennium: a Sourcebook, eds. G. Feinman & T.D. Price. Dordrecht: Kluwer/Plenum, 231-72.
    • Heidegger, M., 1993 Letter on humanism, in Martin Heidegger: Basic Writings, ed. D.F. Krell. 2nd edition. London: Routledge, 213-65.
    • Hill, E., 2000. The embodied sacricfie. Cambridge Archaeological Journal 10(2), 317-26.
    • Hill, J.N. & J. Gunn (eds.), 1977. The Individual in Prehistory: Studies of Variability in Style in Prehistoric Technologies. New York (NY): Academic Press.
    • Hoare, Q. & G. Nowell Smith, 1971. Selection from the Prison Notebooks of Antonio Gramsci. London: Lawrence & Wishart.
    • Hodder, I., 1999. The Archaeological Process. Oxford: Blackwell.
    • Hodder, I., 2000. Agency and individuals in long-term process, in Agency in Archaeology, eds. M.-A. Dobres & J. Robb. London: Routledge, 21-33.
    • Hodder, I., 2003. Agency and individuals in long-term processes, in Archaeology Beyond Dialogue, by I. Hodder. Salt Lake City (UT): University of Utah Press, 83-92.
    • Hodder, I., 2004. The 'social' in archaeological theory: an historical and contemporary perspective, in A Companion to Social Archaeology, eds. L. Meskell & R. Preucel. Oxford: Blackwell, 23-42.
    • Hodder, I. & S. Hutson, 2003. Reading the Past: Current Approaches to Interpretation in Archaeology. 3rd edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    • Johnson, M.H., 1989. Conceptions of agency in archaeological interpretation. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 8, 189-211.
    • Jones, A., 2005. Lives in fragments? Personhood and the European Neolithic. Journal of Social Archaeology 5, 193-224.
    • Joyce, R.A., 2000. Gender and Power in Prehispanic Mesoamerica. Austin (TX): University of Texas Press.
    • Joyce, R.A., 2003. Making something of herself: embodiment in life and death at Playa de los Muertos, Honduras. Cambridge Archaeological Journal 13(2), 248-61.
    • Kirk, T., 2006. Materiality, personhood and monumentality in Early Neolithic Britain. Cambridge Archaeological Journal 16(3), 333-47.
    • Knapp, A.B., 1998. Who's come a long way baby? Masculinist approaches to a gendered archaeology. Archaeological Dialogues 5, 91-125.
    • Knapp, A.B. & L.M. Meskell, 1997. Bodies of evidence on prehistoric Cyprus. Cambridge Archaeological Journal 7(2), 183-204.
    • Kristiansen, K., 2004. Genes versus agents: a discussion of the widening theoretical gap in archaeology. Archaeological Dialogues 11, 77-132.
    • La Fontaine, J.S., 1985. Person and individual: some anthropological reflections, in The Category of the Person, eds. M. Carrithers, S. Collins & S. Lukes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 123-40.
    • Last, J., 1998. Books of life: biography and memory in a Bronze Age barrow. Oxford Journal of Archaeology 17, 43-53.
    • Latour, B., 1993. We Have Never Been Modern. Cambridge (MA): Harvard University Press.
    • Li Puma, E., 1998. Modernity and forms of personhood in Melanesia, in Bodies and Persons: Comparative Perspectives from Africa and Melanesia, eds. M. Lambek & A. Strathern. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 53-79.
    • Lukes, S., 1973. Individualism. Oxford: Blackwell.
    • Mauss, M., 1985 [1938]. A category of the human mind: the notion of person; the notion of self, in The Category of the Person, eds. M. Carrithers, S. Collins & S. Lukes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1-25.
    • McDermott, L., 1996. Self-representation in Upper Paleolithic female figurines. Current Anthropology 37, 227-75.
    • McGuire, R. & L. Wurst, 2002. Struggling with the past. International Journal of Historical Archaeology 6, 85-94.
    • McNay, L., 1994. Foucault: a Critical Introduction. New York (NY): Continuum.
    • Meskell, L., 1996. The somatization of archaeology: institutions, discourses, corporeality. Norwegian Archaeological Review 29, 1-16.
    • Meskell, L., 1998. An archaeology of social relations in an Egyptian village. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 5, 209-43.
    • Meskell, L., 1999. Archaeologies of Social Life: Age, Sex, Class Et Cetera in Ancient Egypt. Oxford: Blackwell.
    • Meskell, L., 2001. Archaeologies of identity, in Archaeological Theory Today, ed. I. Hodder. Cambridge: Polity Press, 187-213.
    • Meskell, L. & R.A. Joyce, 2003. Embodied Lives: Figuring Ancient Maya and Egyptian Experience. London: Routledge.
    • Mignolo, W., 2000. Local Histories/Global Designs: Coloniality, Subaltern Knowledges, and Border Thinking. Princeton (NJ): Princeton University Press.
    • Miller, D., 1994. Modernity, an Ethnographic Approach: Dualism and Mass Consumption in Trinidad. Oxford: Berg.
    • Mitchell, T., 1990. Everyday metaphors of power. Theory and Society 19, 545-77.
    • Moore, H., 1990. Paul Ricoeur: action, meaning and text, in Reading Material Culture, ed. C. Tilley. Oxford: Blackwell, 85-120.
    • Moore,H.,1994.APassionforDiefrence .Cambridge:PolityPress.
    • Moore, H., 1999. Anthropological theory at the turn of the century, in Anthropological Theory Today, ed. H. Moore. Cambridge: Polity Press, 1-23.
    • Moore, H., 2000. Ethics and ontology: why agents and agency mater, in Agency in Archaeology, eds. M.-A. Dobres & J. Robb. London: Routledge, 259-63.
    • Musgrave, J., R.A.H. Neave, A.J.N.W. Prag, E. Sakellarakis & J.A. Sakellarakis, 1994. The priest and priestess from Archanes-Anemospilia: reconstructing Minoan faces. Annual of the British School at Athens 89, 89-100.
    • Nelte, D., 1997. On the status of methodological individual - ism. Current Anthropology 38, 283-6.
    • Ong, A., 1996. Anthropology, China and modernities: the geopolitics of cultural knowledge, in The Future of Anthropological Knowledge, ed. H. Moore. London: Routledge, 60-92.
    • Orser, C., 2003. The archaeology of high culture and its discontents. Reviews in Anthropology 32, 125-39.
    • Ortner, S., 2001. Specifying agency: the Comarosf and their critics. Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies 3, 76-84.
    • Ortner S., 2006. Anthropology and Social Theory: Culture, Power and the Acting Subject. Durham (NC): Duke University Press.
    • Pluciennik, M., 2007. Review of Thomas 2004a. Cambridge Archaeological Journal 17(2), 238-40.
    • Renfrew, C., 1972. The Emergence of Civilization: the Cyclades and the Aegean in the Third Millennium bc. London: Methuen.
    • Renfrew, C., 1994. The identity of Europe in prehistoric archaeology. Journal of European Archaeology 2, 153-73.
    • Renfrew, C., 2001. Symbol before concept: material engagement and the early development of society, in Archaeological Theory Today, ed. I. Hodder. Cambridge: Polity Press, 122-40.
    • Robb, J., 2002. Time and biography: osteobiography of the Italian Neolithic lifespan, in Thinking through the Body: Archaeologies of Corporeality, eds. Y. Hamilakis, M. Pluciennik & S. Tarlow. New York (NY): Kluwer/ Plenum, 137-52.
    • Rowlands, M., 1995. Inconsistent temporalities in a nationspace, in Worlds Apart: Modernity through the Prism of the Local, ed. D. Miller. London: Routledge, 23-42.
    • Sahlins, M., 1993. Goodbye to tristes tropes: ethnography in the context of modern world history. Journal of Modern History 65, 1-25.
    • Schmidt, P. & T. Paterson, 1995. Introduction: from con - structing to making alternative histories, in Making Alternative Histories: the Practice of Archaeology and History in non-Western Setings , eds. P. Schmidt & T. Paterson. Santa Fe (NM): School of American Research Press, 1-24.
    • Schortman, E.M., 1989. Interregional interactions in prehistory: the need for a new perspective. American Antiquity 54, 52-65.
    • Shanks, M. & C. Tilley, 1982. Ideology, symbolic power and ritual communication: a reinterpretation of Neolithic morturary practices, in Symbolic and Structural Archaeology, ed. I. Hodder. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 129-54.
    • Shanks, M. & C. Tilley, 1987. Social Theory and Archaeology. Cambridge: Polity Press.
    • Silliman, S., 2001. Agency, practical politics and the archaeology of culture contact. Journal of Social Archaeology 1, 190-209.
    • Sinclair, A., 2000. Constellations of knowledge: human agency and material afordance in lithic technology, in Agency in Archaeology, eds. M.-A. Dobres & J. Robb. London: Routledge, 196-212.
    • Snow, D.R., 2002. Individuals, in Darwin and Archaeology: a Handbook of Key Concepts, eds. J.P. Hart & J.E. Terrell. Westport (CT): Bergin & Garvey, 161-81.
    • Strathern, M., 1988. The Gender of the Gift: Problems with Women and Problems with Society in Melanesia. Berkeley (CA): University of California Press.
    • Sweely, T.L. (ed.), 1999. Manifesting Power: Gender and the Interpretation of Power in Archaeology. Routledge: London.
    • Talalay, L.E., 1993. Deities, Dolls, and Devices: Neolithic Figurines from Franchthi Cave, Greece. (Excavations at Franchthi Cave 9.) Bloomington (IN): Indiana University Press.
    • Talalay, L.E., 2000. Archaeological Ms.conceptions: contemplating gender and the Greek Neolithic, in Representations of Gender from Prehistory to the Present, eds. M. Donald & L. Hurcombe. London: Macmillan, 3-16.
    • Tarlow, S., 1999. Bereavement and Commemoration: an Archaeology of Mortality. Oxford: Blackwell.
    • Tarlow, S., 2002. Bodies, selves and individuals: introduction, in Thinking through the Body: Archaeologies of Corporeality, eds. Y. Hamilakis, M. Pluciennik & S. Tarlow. New York (NY): Kluwer/Plenum, 23-7.
    • Thomas, J., 1996. Time, Culture and Identity. London: Routledge.
    • Thomas, J., 2000a. Reconfiguring the social, reconfiguring the material, in Social Theory in Archaeology, ed. M. Schiefr. Salt Lake City (UT): University of Utah Press, 143-55.
    • Thomas, J., 2000b. Response to Wilkie & Bartoy. Current Anthropology 41, 770.
    • Thomas, J., 2002a. Archaeology's humanism and the materiality of the body, in Thinking through the Body: Archaeologies of Corporeality, eds. Y. Hamilakis, M. Pluciennik & S. Tarlow. New York (NY): Kluwer/Plenum, 29-45.
    • Thomas, J., 2002b. Materialism and power. Cambridge Archaeological Journal 12(1), 140-42.
    • Thomas, J., 2004a. Archaeology and Modernity. London: Routledge.
    • Thomas, J., 2004b. The Great Dark Book: archaeology, experience, and interpretation, in A Companion to Archaeology, ed. J. Bintlif. Oxford: Blackwell, 21-36.
    • Treherne, P., 1995. The warrior's beauty: the masculine body and self-identity in Bronze Age Europe. Journal of European Archaeology 3, 105-44.
    • Walker, C.B.F., 1987. Cuneiform. London: British Museum.
    • Wilkie, L.A. & K.M. Bartoy, 2000. A critical archaeology revisited. Current Anthropology 41, 747-77.
  • No related research data.
  • No similar publications.

Share - Bookmark

Cite this article