On the Necessity of Reclaiming the Social in Theoretical Archaeology: A Critical Response to Object-Oriented Archaeologies

Çilingiroğlu Ç.

Theoretical Archaeology Group 2021 USA , California, United States Of America, 30 April - 02 May 2021, pp.22

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • City: California
  • Country: United States Of America
  • Page Numbers: pp.22


A growing literature in archaeological theory has embraced the so-called “material turn” especially what is branded as “Object Oriented Ontology” (OOO). Some archaeologists view this as an opportunity for the discipline which is, by definition, a practice of knowing objects. Others argue that the material turn may open up hitherto-unexplored ways of looking at historical processes. While this all sounds very exciting for a new generation of archaeologists, I see a genuine need to be cautious about the premises, assumptions, implications and possible consequences of subscribing to OOO-inspired archaeologies. All of these new developments have a direct impact on how archaeologists envisage, narrate, conceptualize, and interpret the past. It is my intention to scrutinize the theoretical pathway behind this viewpoint and demonstrate how this well-intentioned enterprise might lead to indifferent and irresponsible landscapes for archaeologists and approaches all the while claiming to be “responsible” and “careful” about humans and non-humans equally.