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Title: Reframing the Neolithic
Author: Spicer, Nigel Christopher
Awarding Body: University of Bradford
Current Institution: University of Bradford
Date of Award: 2013
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In advancing a critical examination of post-processualism, the thesis has – as its central aim – the repositioning of the Neolithic within contemporary archaeological theory. Whilst acknowledging the insights it brings to an understanding of the period, it is argued that the knowledge it produces is necessarily constrained by the emphasis it accords to the cultural. Thus, in terms of the transition, the symbolic reading of agriculture to construct a metanarrative of Mesolithic continuity is challenged through a consideration of the evidential base and the indications it gives for a corresponding movement at the level of the economy; whilst the limiting effects generated by an interpretative reading of its monuments for an understanding of the social are considered. Underpinning these constraints is the conceptual privileging of the individual consequent upon the post-processual reaction to the totalising frameworks of modernist knowledge and the metanarratives of progress they construct – as exemplified in the economic reading of Childe. In examining the form of this reaction, the wider post-processual transposition of postmodernism within contemporary archaeological theory is also considered. In utilising Giddens’ concept of reflexivity, it is argued that rather than the ‘cultural turn’ itself, it is the inflection of the epistemological frameworks of the Enlightenment with a teleological reading of the past as progress that represents the postmodern within contemporary archaeological theory and it is through this understanding of postmodernism as expressing the capacity that modernity has to be self-aware that the conditions are established for the recovery of the Neolithic as a holistic object.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Post-processualism ; Neolithic, Metanarrative ; Individual ; Postmodernism ; Reflexivity ; Epistemology ; Enlightenment ; Modernity ; Holistic