Posted by: Johan Normark | September 25, 2010

Quote of the day: DeLanda on idealism and realism

Idealists have it easy. Their reality is uniformly populated by appearances or phenomena, structured by linguistic representations or social conventions, so they can feel safe to engage in metaphysical speculation knowing that the contents of their world have been settled in advance. Realists, on the other hand, are committed to assert the autonomy of reality from the human mind, but then must struggle to define what inhabits that reality. (DeLanda 2010:81)

If you are an archaeologist and you are bored with “postprocessual archaeology” (which includes social constructionism, phenomenology, hermeneutic circles, material culture as signs, postcolonialism, etc.), do not simply fall back on the old school of more traditional culture history or “non-theoretical” archaeology. There are realist options such as evolutionary archaeology, behavioral archaeology, neuroarchaeology, etc. But these may be too associated with processual/cognitive archaeology for some people as they are based on “old realism/materialism”.

 Neomaterialist/neorealist archaeology does not follow these lines of thought. It makes use of Deleuzian/DeLandian metaphysics (and will most likely include ideas from speculative realism in the future). A good and easy to read introduction to these ideas is found in the book from where the quote above comes from:

DeLanda, Manuel (2010) Deleuze: History and Science. Atropos: New York.


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