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Archäologische Kulturen als imaginäre Gemeinschaften (archaeological cultures as imaginary communities)

Sommer, U; (2007) Archäologische Kulturen als imaginäre Gemeinschaften (archaeological cultures as imaginary communities). In: Rieckhoff, S and Sommer, U, (eds.) Auf der Suche nach Identitäten: Volk - Stamm -Kultur-Ethnos. (pp. 59-78). British Archaeological Reports: Oxford.

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Abstract

The article looks at the history of the term "culture" in Germany in general and in German prehistoric archaeology in particular. Gustaf Kossinna's "settlement archaeology" or prehistoric ethnography is discussed in some detail. The alternative approaches of Luening (1972), Strahm (1977) and Clark (1968) are discussed. Luening advocates a view of cultures as a simple classificatory tool, but treates their existence as a unchanging given, that is somehow inherent in the archaeological record. The articles discusses different definitions of ethnicity (essentialist, voluntarist and subjectivist paradigm) and pleads for a historically sensitive study of prehistoric ethnicity. The existence and strength of any spatial patterning of material culture changes through time, and shows different degrees of coherence in different areas of material culture. This puts archaeology in the unique position of being actually able to look at different patterns and "degrees" of ethnicity and to follow the development and disappearance of ethnic units, thus demonstrating that ethnicity is a form of group-identity that is mobilised only under certain conditions.

Type: Book chapter
Title: Archäologische Kulturen als imaginäre Gemeinschaften (archaeological cultures as imaginary communities)
Keywords: archaeological culture concept, ethnicity
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of SandHS > Institute of Archaeology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of SandHS > Institute of Archaeology > Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/34921
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