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Archaeology, hermeneutics of suspicion and phenomenological trivialization

  • Bjørnar Olsen

Abstract

The point of departure for this debate (and the SAA forum) was the question ‘does archaeological theory exist?’ Matthew Johnson's answer is wisely mixed, but mostly negative. Archaeological theory does not exist, he tells us, because there is hardly any distinctive archaeological way of theoretical thinking ‘to which most or even the largest group of archaeologists would willingly or knowingly subscribe’ (p. 117). I shall not spend much time on Johnson's denial, which for several reasons may well be justified, just note that if we apply his rather rigorous consensual criterion to other disciplines, we would probably be searching in vain also for any sociological, economic or even philosophical theory – which Johnson still seems quite convinced do exist.

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Archaeology, hermeneutics of suspicion and phenomenological trivialization

  • Bjørnar Olsen

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