Assemblages of practice. A conceptual framework for exploring human–thing relations in archaeology
Antczak, Konrad A.
Beaudry, Mary C.
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Citation (published version)MC Beaudry, Konrad A Antczak. (2019) "Assemblages of Practice: A Conceptual Framework for Exploring Human-Thing Relations in Archaeology." Archaeological Dialogues, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp. 87-110. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S1380203819000205P
In this paper we propose the conceptual framework of the assemblage of practice as an effective middle-range heuristic tool that bridges deep theory and the data available to archaeologists. Our framework foregrounds vibrant things as opposed to static objects, and sympathetically articulates the current concepts of entanglement, correspondence and assemblage. To us an assemblage of practice is a dynamic gathering of corresponding things entangled through situated daily and eventful human practice. Once reassembled by comprehensively and critically marshalling all the evidentiary lines available to archaeologists today, the assemblage of practice becomes a powerful analytical tool that illuminates changes, continuities and transformations in human–thing entanglements, and not only their impacts on local and short-term sociocultural developments, but also their repercussions on phenomena of much larger spatiotemporal scale. Our goal is to present archaeologists with a pluralistic, integrative and evolving middle-range framework that pays close attention to terminological precision and theoretical clarity and is conceptually accessible and widely applicable.