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Steps towards understanding medieval urban communities as social practice

  • Ulrich Müller


The contribution by Axel Christophersen aims to present new perspectives for the archaeology of medieval and post-medieval towns. In enlisting ‘social-practice theory’, the author would like to view the town as a dynamic, ever-changing network of social and cultural practices which is registered in the archaeological data. This perspective on the town lies, therefore, somewhere between structure-centred and agent-centred approaches. As such, Axel Christophersen's contribution can be seen as more comprehensive. I assess the piece also as a programmatic contribution to the development of theory in the apparently long-term conflict between ‘processual and postprocessual archaeology’. It should be said in advance that he was successful in this. At the same time, however, his contribution makes it clear that it is not easy to transfer or apply current cultural-studies concepts to historical periods and the materiality of archaeological data.


Corresponding author

*Ulrich Müller, Institut für Ur- und Frühgeschichte, Christian-Albrechts-Universität Kiel, Germany. Email:


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