By S. J. Shennan
Examines the severe implications of cultural id from various views. Questions the character and bounds of archaeological wisdom of the previous and the connection of fabric tradition to cultural identity.
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Additional resources for Archaeological approaches to cultural identity
256). This core of rationality is based on the common evolutionary heritage of the human species, and it revolves around what 4 INTRODUCTION Horton calls ‘primary theory’, developed to cope with a world of middlesized objects, ‘interrelated…in terms of a push-pull conception of causality, in which spatial and temporal contiguity are seen as crucial to the transmission of change’ (ibid. 1982, p. 228). It is this primary theory which ‘provides the cross-cultural voyager with his intellectual bridgehead’ (ibid.
It is the wrong theoretical notion because it starts from an idea of truth-preserving matching of sentences. In fact, the possibilities available in one language are not there in the other. To get them into the second language one has to learn a way of reasoning and when that has been done there is no problem of translation at all, let alone indeterminacy. There is perfect commensurability, and no indeterminacy of translation in those boring domains of observations that we share with all people as people.
She also sketched out certain features which might be expected to characterize vehicles of emblemic style. Sackett (1982, 1985) does not actually exclude such a rôle altogether, but regards the vast majority of stylistic variation in artefacts—or, as he prefers to call it, ‘isochrestic variation’—as passive. In his view material culture inevitably carries a heavy load of ethnic symbolism because it is produced in ethnically bounded contexts. SPATIAL VARIATION, STYLE AND IDENTITY 19 In another book in this One World Archaeology series, however, Wiessner (1989) has outlined a view which integrates her ‘emblemic’ and ‘assertive’ categories, as well as Sackett’s isochrestic variation, in a single framework, based on the idea of ‘identification by comparison’ operating in different conditions (Wiessner 1989, ch.