Trading Zones And Disunity

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‘Trading Zones’: archaeology and the disunity of science thesis …

‘Trading Zones’: archaeology and the disunity of science thesis
Benjamin Manktelow, University of Sheffield
b.manktelow@sheffield.ac.uk

A ‘trading zone’, as defined within the philosophy of science, is an ad-hoc academic grouping that exists outside of traditional disciplinary boundaries. Such trading zones are never swallowed by a parent discipline. Members either perform research into the same phenomena, but using different approaches, or they utilise the same approaches, but to investigate different phenomena.
This working paper will take the above as a starting point and present the idea of archaeology as a trading zone, thereby questioning the affects this has on current conceptions of landscape archaeology. Such a viewpoint would open up the possibility of dialogue, and potentially bridge the gap, between the humanities (post-processual) and sciences (processual), which have increasingly become segregated within archaeology, especially in studies of the landscape.
This presentation will be drawn from the first section of ongoing research into a ‘disunity of archaeology’ model.

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  • 1. ‘ Trading Zones’: archaeology and the disunity of science thesis Benjamin Manktelow University of Sheffield Supervisor: John Barrett
  • 2. The aim(s):
    • To explain how the singular, unified voice of archaeology is outdated and in need of change;
    • To describe a multifaceted archaeology in which there is no centre, or (grand) unification.
  • 3. What’s coming up?
    • An overview of my research;
    • A brief venture into the ‘disunity of science thesis’;
    • What is a trading zone, and how do they work?
    • Why is all this important for archaeology, or why should we care.
  • 4. Research
    • A Three Part Investigation:
      • 1: A review and analysis of the ‘disunity of science thesis’ and its usefulness to archaeology and the humanities as a bridging agent for the humanities and science.
      • 2: A review of past and current approaches to the landscape.
      • 3: A landscape project addressing Wessex .
  • 5. Paradigm:
    • "I mean to suggest that some accepted examples of actual scientific practice-examples which provide models from which spring particular coherent traditions of scientific research. These are the traditions which the historian describes under such rubrics as 'Ptolemaic astronomy' (or 'Copernican), Aristotelian physics (or 'Newtonian')."
    •  
    • From Kuhn, Thomas, S. 1996 [1962] The Structure of Scientific Revolutions University of Chicago Press, USA
  • 6. Previous Archaeological Paradigms
    • Empirical Archaeology – Explicit concentration on Excavation, recording and Describing.
    • Processual Archaeology – The Positivistic, Philosophy of Science Influence.
    • Post-Processual Archaeology – The Social, Humanistic, Anti-Science Influence.
  • 7. The Shape of things Previous Archaeological paradigms
  • 8. Archaeological history
    • Past archaeological paradigms were singular and dominant . They had a clear idea of what was archaeology and what was not archaeology .
    • This is not the case anymore.
  • 9. Kinds of science
    • The universe as machine (A clock)
    • Deterministic
    • Fully law governed
    • Potentially fully intelligible
    • there is no great machine that is the universe
    • there can be no grand unification of.
    • Each approach is a context, area specific approach
    • there can be no reduction to explain the foundations of the universe
    Common conception of science Disunity of science thesis
  • 10. The Shape of Things Disunity of Science
  • 11. What is a trading zone?
    • A de-centralised group of practices/approaches;
    • disciplines are kept together by their interconnections. Not a meta-narrative;
    • They result in the creation of a substantially new body of knowledge;
    • These new knowledges can be seen to stand outside of traditional disciplines.
  • 12. Types of Trading zone
    • 1: A collection of approaches that share methodology, but investigate different phenomena.
    • 2: A collection of approaches that investigate the same phenomena but use different methodologies.
  • 13. Types of archaeological investigation
    • Include and not limited to:
    • excavation
    • field walking
    • phenomenology
    • osteology
    • palaeopathology
    • ceramic studies.
    • chemical investigations
    • Biological investigations
    • creating ethnographies
    • heritage management, and
    • teaching/lecturing.
    • Among many others.
  • 14. Unification
    • Material histories may be a common theme but it is not a banner to unite under.
    • Material histories are a binding agent to demarcate/delineate a group.
  • 15. Of disunity and trading zones Disunity of Archaeology Model Excavation Environmental analysis Phenomenology Osteology Palaeopatholog y Fieldwalking Ethnographies Ceramics Chemistry Nb: Not to scale or an accurate representation of connections.
  • 16. Why this matters
    • empirical, processual and post-processual archaeology, all fit fluidly into the architecture that that I have described today.
    • science or humanity is no longer an issue such approaches add to what we know of the material history – they do not have to be unified or synthesized.
    • Perception shifts from the grand scale of one archaeology to rule them all. To a bottom up archaeology.
    • Archaeology truly becomes multi-faceted. Opening many different and varied windows into history.
    • Archaeology becomes critical and self reflexive, not dogmatic.