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Against object agency. A counterreaction to Sørensen's ‘Hammers and nails’

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 November 2016


This paper commends some ideas that Torill Christine Lindstrøm presented in this journal on the subject of ‘object agency’ (2015) and contends, against Tim Flohr Sørensen's reaction paper (2016), that object agency subsists on philosophically questionable premises. I argue that Sørensen relies on a definition of ‘agency’ which is too labile and virtually indistinguishable from ‘cause’. Moreover, certain premises that Sørensen supports lead to some contradictions with regard to social responsibility. Finally, I argue that object agency is part of a larger intellectual trend which perceives agency as a dynamic global force – and that a return to a more constrained understanding of agency would be of more benefit to archaeology.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2016 

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