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A Relational Marxist Critique of Posthumanism in Archaeology

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 May 2021

Randall H. McGuire*
Anthropology Binghamton University 4400 Vestal Parkway Binghamton, NY 13902-4600 USA Email:


In archaeology, a Posthumanism has arisen from the ashes of post-modernism and declared that Marxism is dead in archaeology. Archaeological advocates of the posthumanist theory of Symmetrical Archaeology cherry-pick ideas to dismiss Marxism out of hand without considering the depth and nuances of different Marxist theories. They misrepresent the relational dialectic as oppositional thinking and ignore the fundamental dualism of their own polemic. They equate humans and things by arguing that they share a common ontology. A relational Marxism resolves the dualistic nature of their polemic and shows that things, animals and people may be studied relationally while still recognizing ontological differences. Marxism lives.

Special Section: Debating Posthumanism in Archaeology
Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research

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