Entangled: An Archeology of the Relationships between Humans and Things

by Ian Hodder

[Hodder, Ian. 2012. Entangled: An Archaeology of the Relationships between Humans and Things. John Wiley & Sons.]

  1. Ch. 1 Thinking About Things Differently
    1. the focus has changed from how things make society possible to the thing itself and its multiple connections. The gaze shifts to look more closely, harder at the thing, to explore how society and thing are co-entangled. That is the shift that I want to try to make in this book. (3)
    2. Themes about things
    3. Not isolated
      1. Since humans have been in existence we have affected the world on a large scale (Roberts 1998) so all things are to some degree human-made artifacts (4)
    4. Not inert – “stand against”
    5. Endure over Different Temporalities
      1. Objects and materials can endure over time spans considerably greater than individual human experience. (5)
    6. Appear as Non-things
      1. The TV is arguably one of the most transformative objects of the 20th century, and yet in our homes, as we watch our favorite programs, the TV itself becomes unnoticed. In fact we might even baulk at calling a TV a ‘thing’, since it is just the medium through which we see images. Unless we are TV repair mechanics, the box itself is of little interest and blurs into the background (6)
    7. The Forgetness of Things – we take for granted
      1. Ex. A watch is a thing, but not only has leather, metal, and glass parts that interact, but also temporal components: changes from early religious to Julian to Gregorian calendar…
    8. What is a Thing?
      1. an entity that has a presence by which I mean a configuration that endures however briefly (7)
      2. We have seen that things are not isolated. It is in their connections, and in their flows into other forms, that theur thingness resides. (8)
    9. Humans and Things
      1. Hodder justifies the separation of humans as a specific type of thing because: human dependence on things leads to an entanglement between humans and things that has implications for the ways in which we have evolved and for the ways in which we live in societies today. (10)
      2. a human is a thing, it is a thing of a particular kind, one that has developed a very large and complex nervous system, body and mind thoroughly dependent on other things to exist. …. In the same way that all living things depend on sunlight, air or water, soil and minerals, so too all sentient beings depend on things to bring their sentience into being. Humans are particularly dependent because their embodied nervous systems need activation by cultural and environmental cues.
    10. Knowing Things
      1. This book aims to look at the relationships between humans and things from the point of view of things. (10)
      2. it can be argued that the operational chains that produce artifacts are continuous sequences, arbitrarily divided up into actions, gestures, objects and residues. (11)
      3. QUESTIONS: how can we define an entity as a bounded essence? Where do we draw the objective boundaries around a thing? Is my computer just the unplugged processor box? Or is it also the connections that allow it to work? (11)
    11. Conclusion: The Objectness of Things
      1. So I have argued that entities (bounded essences) and objects (that stand up against humans) can only be known by humans through their character as things (that gather humans and other things into heterogeneous mixes). So, from such a perspective, we ‘make’ things. (13)

  1. Ch. 2 Humans Depend on Things

Where does the blind man’s self begin – at his hand ore at the end of the stick? (36)

    1. Dependence – two forms
      1. Dependence – things enable us to do things – we rely on them
      2. Dependency – things constrain us – addictions and interests cloud the ability to see/do other choices/activities
    2. Reflective & non-reflective – do we think about things or take them for granted? –
      1. Human-Thing dependences form a hierarchy:
        1. (H) thinking about (T) thought
        2. (H) thinking about (T) a feeling
        3. (H) feeling (T) a material object/person
      2. tradition of – separating out practical, everyday experiential knowledge from abstract reflexive thought. (20)
        1. Mauss, Leroi-Gorhan, Bourdieu
      3. various forms of contiguity and association between people and objects lead to them being transformed into things that people can say they have an exclusive relationship with. There is a gradual shift from identification and association to ownership. (25)
      4. why is ownership important? because it describes the ways in which identification with things leads to the structuring and ordering of societies and of individuals in those societies. (26)
    3. Other approaches to Human Dependence on Things
      1. Phenomenology
        1. Heidegger – Dasein, being-in-the-world, equiptment totality
          1. Ready-to-hand – everyday use w/out thought
          2. Present-at-hand – realization of all functions, usually because of breakdown
        2. Merleau-Ponty – through interacting with things, we understand how our bodies work
      2. Material culture/ materiality
        1. Hegel – we become self aware by creating an ‘other’ or an ‘object’
          1. Sublation – when we want that ‘other/object’ to reincorporate into us
        2. Marx – we become distant from the objects of out labor through:
          1. Alienation – estrangement from objects made
          2. Fetishism – the object is given a value as a commodity
          3. Reification – being separated, objects are seen to have an external autonomy or origin
      3. Cognition
        1. Internalist view – cognition is centralized decision making in the mind
        2. Radical interactionist view – cognition is spread out across mind, body, and world
          1. Renfrew – engagement – ‘the symbol cannot exist without the substance, and the material reality of the substance precedes the symbolic role’ (2004: 25).
          2. Scaffolding – exploitation of external structure in situational problem-solving
    4. ConclusionThings R Us
      1. human existence is thingly, irreducibly so. Things flow through us. (38)
      2. All of the stuff from phenomenology, materiality, and cognition is great BUT none of them talk specifically about the things themselves in detail. Archaeologists, however. DO do that. The rest of the book will try to reconcile these fields.
  1. Ch 3. Things Depend on Other Things

The aim of the rest of this book is to try and develop an approach that takes things seriously and breaks away from the fragmentation of archaeological and material culture theory. Is it possible to develop a theory that gives real symmetry to humans and things? (41)

    1. Forms of connection between things
      1. Production/ reproduction
      2. Exchange
      3. Use
      4. Consumption
      5. Discard
      6. Post-deposition
      7. But also flowing through these heterogeneous assemblies are all the human dependences… The things in the networks are the foci of debts, obligations, rights. Since humans are involved in these networks, processes of identification and ownership become activated. (44)
        1. [FIRE CHART] (45)
      8. key points:
        1. connections are heteronenous, ie. Subject/object, culture/nature, etc. are all intermingled
        2. chains & threads are extensive & far-flung
        3. many connections are invisible to social actors and there are many unacknowledged conditions
        4. defining a network or assembly is impossible because it is an open system
    2. affordances
      1. Gibson – an object’s potentialities for a particular set of actions … an affordance points both ways , to the environment and to the observer (49)
      2. mutual affordances
    3. From affordance to dependence
      1. Networks of these mutual affordances lead to dependencies which solidify the network
    4. The French School – Operational Chains
      1. Lemonnier – three tiered ordering of tech systems:
        1. components of technique
        2. various techniques are linked together in a society
        3. techniques embedded into wider social and cultural concerns (gender, labor, religion, etc)
      2. back to practical skill (savoir faire) and reflective knowledge (connaissance)
      3. criticized for linearity from raw material to finished product
    5. Behavioral Chains
      1. Schiffer – procurement, manufacture, use, maintenance, repair, discard
        1. Each is its own set of interactions (network?) , but they move in a linear direction downstream
    6. Conclusion
      1. Again, everyone talks about people, but not the things themselves… Or the things, but not the people…
  1. Ch 4. Things Depend on Humans


    1. Things Fall Apart
      1. things cannot exist for humans, in the ways that humans want, without human intervention. Things depend on humans and this dependence draws humans in (69)
    2. Behavioral Archaeology & Material Behavior
      1. Throughout history, things humans make have forced humans into certain types of labor, wall-building, refuse disposal, etc
    3. Behavioral Ecology
      1. Tinbergen – behavior is seen as part of animals’ evolutionary adaptation
        1. Goats & sheep domesticated rather than gazelles & deer
        2. Many grains and crop vegetables
      2. as humans domesticate plants and animals, they have to work harder to keep them docile and edible (dependence AND dependency)
    4. Human Behavioral Ecology
      1. Humans will do whatever yields the highest return, only turning to less efficient means in extreme circumstances
    5. The Temporalities of Things
      1. How long return takes:
        1. hunter-gatherers – quick return, low yield
        2. agrarian society – delayed return, high and consistent yield
          1. BUT some delayed return involves another set of entanglements (D & D= plant, maintain, protect, harvest, etc)
          2. WHEREAS others don’t (you only build a boat once, but you keep using it)
    6. Conclusion: The Unruliness of Things

dependence of things on humans draws humans deeper into the orbit of things. (86)

      1. our interactions with things become unruly and we find ways to discipline the things and ourselves
      2. Far from society being based solely on the stability of things, it seems that human-thing relationships create instability that needs to be stabilized. (86)
  1. Ch 5. Entanglement

Entanglment = (HT) + (TT) + (TH) + (HH)

The defining aspect of entanglement with things is that humans get caught in a double bind, depending on things that depend on humans. (88)

the dialectic of dependence and dependency. (89)

    1. Other approaches
      1. Mauss, Thomas, others?
    2. Latour and Actor Network Theory
      1. Latour, Law & Knorr-Cetina proponents
      2. ANT conducts a ‘semiotics of materiality’. It takes the semiotic focus on relationality and applies it to all materials, producing a relational materiality (91)
      3. All things, human and non-human, are part of a network that serves to create meaning and knowledge. Rejecting the nature/culture separation, ANT sees a symmetrical and cooperative relationship.
      4. Hodder thinks this goes too far, because nature sometimes does things without people. (Is this a good enough reason?) At certain times either humans or things seem to be dominant throughout history.
    3. The Archaeology of Entanglement

While much of what I will argue in this book about entanglement is closely aligned to the approaches taken in the social sciences and humanities … I take a specifically archaeological perspective based on two characteristics (95)

      1. The physical Processes of Things
        1. entanglements between people that involve things create specific practical entrapments (95)
        2. debt, repair, special allowances for ‘sacred’ or ‘valuable’ things, obligations
      2. Temporalities
        1. Over time, entanglements become tighter & more complex. One generation creates dependencies for the next. Mountains slowly crumble.
    1. Forgetness
      1. We stop noticing things for many reasons
        1. We don’t know how it works
        2. It’s every-day; routine
        3. It’s workings are hidden from us
        4. It’s strings of entanglement are too complex to fathom
        5. It’s temporality is different from our own (falling walls)
        6. It’s gone out of use
        7. It becomes too distant
    2. The Tautness of Entanglements
      1. Increasing dependencies create tautness
        1. Constant reproduction and care
        2. Bottlenecks in the process
        3. Unruliness leads to regulation and discipline
        4. We want to protect our investment (labor, resources)
        5. We depend on the positive benefits
        6. Ownership and its obligations
        7. Obligations of exchange
        8. Multiplicity of links creates entrapment
    3. Types and degrees of Entanglement

Not necessarily complete and holistic

      1. Cores and Peripheries of Entanglements
        1. Sailboat – certain aspects of the boat are necessary for functioning (sails, hull, small metal attachment) and some are not (toilets, sink). This changes from person to person, depending on use
      2. Contingency
        1. Bike example – the continued use of bikes is contigent on materials (rubber, steel aluminum, nylon, and the labor involved in making and transporting them) and infrastructure (bike lanes, traffic laws, safety regulations)
    1. Conclusion
      1. So that was the definition of Entanglement. Got it?
  1. Ch 6. Fittingness

Even thoughts have to ‘fit’ into the entanglement

    1. Nested Fittingness
      1. Things have to ‘make sense’ and be appropriate for the situation to provide any affordance, and thus be a part of the entanglement
    2. Return to Affordance
      2. To commit to an affordance strategically (SW Air), wider economic systems, ideologies, environments, etc have to be taken into consideration
    3. Coherence: Abstraction, Metaphor, Mimesis and Resonance

Thoughts as things

      1. Abstraction, Metaphor and Mimesis
        1. Discussion of Wagner, Klimt, and Schoenberg fighting against the established order of the arts
        2. Gombrich sees this 19th Cent change as a slow movement from touch to vision as the primary artistic sense

PROBLEM: What about artistic agency? Are all these artists just doing what “fits” with their sitch?

Also why is Hodder suddenly anti-habitus (123)?

        1. As we make, use and reproduce things using routine practices we are at the same time dealing with broader goals and purposes that cross material domains as well as with the specifics of situational logics. (123)
      1. Synaesthesia
      1. I want to argue that there are bodily processes that themselves seek coherence across domains. (124)

Synaesthesia is a form of “bodily coherence” (w/ resonance)

        1. Drawings of takete and maluma
        2. Colors can be warm, sweet, cheerful; sounds can be bright, sad, harsh
      1. Resonance
        1. Example of ‘granola’
        2. Elites enjoy “more difficult” music (he uses Bourdieu here, even after throwing out habitus earlier – what?
        3. Beethoven produces ‘romantic’ – an abstraction that cuts across many domains (127)
          1. He does this because not because this movement was part of some cultural ‘whole’, but … was caught up in a series of specific entanglements. (128)
        4. The cast iron piano (a set of large entanglements) enabled a bigger, more emotive sound that resonated with people at the time = romantic music
        5. Abstractions ‘feel right,’ ‘seem right’

PROBLEM: what about marketing? (Frankfurt school?)

      1. Coherence and Resonance at Çatalhöyük
        1. Walls, human skulls, and animal skulls are all plastered in Çatalhöyük, SO we can assume that the practice of plastering walls and floor would have resonated with the refleshing of human and animal heads (135)
        2. PROBLEM: can we assume that? Really?
    1. Conclusion
      1. an additional form of tautness in entanglements is produced by the human tendency to seek coherence. (135)
        1. in two ways – abstraction and resonance
  1. CH. 7 The Evolution and Persistence of Things

entanglement and fittingness offer an alternative systematic approach for the study of the evolution of humans and things. (138)

    1. Evolutionary Approaches
      1. Three conditions of natural selection:
        1. Variation
        2. Inheritance (transmission)
        3. Differential fitness leading to selection
      2. Evolutionary Ecology (Human Behavioral Ecology)
        1. explains cultural and behavioral change as forms of phenotypic adaptation to varying social and ecological conditions, using the assumption that natural selection has designed organisms to respond to local conditions in fitness-enhancing ways.’ (Boone & Smith) (141)
        2. ex. Neanderthals hunted ranked prey, and Homo Sapiens exploited a broader range of resources = no more Neanderthals
      3. Evolutionary Archaeology
        1. More about history and heritability
        2. Lineages of practical knowledge and culture alive through ‘adaptiveness’ and ‘drift’
        3. Tools do not breed, but tool makers do breed, and they do transmit information to other tool makers, irrespective of whether those other tool makers are lineal descendants. (142)
      4. Dual inheritance Theory
        1. Both of the above
        2. focus on cultural transmission and argue again that ‘some cultural variants persist and spread because they cause their bearers to be more likely to survive and be imitated’ (144)
      5. cultural anthropologists don’t believe in culture as a ‘packet’ to be passed down. These previous theories don’t leave room for how people manipulate material culture socially (145)
      6. PROBLEM: that’ a really good point, so why does Hodder do that too?
      7. If we take a more anthropological view we see that humans and things are caught up in complex webs – and these webs of technology, social obligation, exchange relations, phenomenological understanding, ideological perspective, social jockeying are all part of the complex environment that mean that a certain trait is or is not used. One thing depends on another thing. It is these entanglement processes that produce so-called battle-ship curves, and it is within them that transmission takes place or ceases. (145-6)
    2. Evolution and Entanglement

How to take these theories and apply them to mine

      1. Thing and long-term centered = check
      2. Inheritance and transmission = not as easy
        1. Humans are tradition bound, but also invent traditions
        2. (like art and music, you dick)
      3. differential fitness = also not easy
        1. so instead “fittingness” – affordances, abstractions, and resonances are only transmitted as long as they ‘fit’ into their present entanglements
    1. Niche Construction
      1. Organisms create their own niche through reciprocal feedback between organisms’ activities and their selective environment (149)
      2. This feedback is resonance, affordance, and abstraction
      3. They do this to ensure that they ‘fit’ within an entanglement, and be transmitted forward in time. (see SW Air example)
    2. Evolution at Çatahöyük
      1. The change from clay ball to clay pot cooking ‘fits’ I terms of both heat efficiency and the ability for a cook to multi-task in a growing dense population
      2. Pots used for sheep and goat products – not symbolically rich – pots had no decoration WHEREAS funerary and ritual items had decorations of wild animals
      3. The one pot that was decorated did not get copies because it didn’t ‘fit’
      4. PROBLEM Then why was it made in the first place?
    3. Conclusion
      1. Things get copied when they ‘fit’ – therefore, evolution
  1. Ch. 8 Things Happen…

why do entanglements become more complex over time?

Is their an inherent directionality?

As they get more complex, why is there greater chance of change?

    1. The complexity of Entanglements
      1. Open, Complex and Discontinuous Entanglements
        1. Entanglements are open systems, so things can get unruly. They are not bounded entities
      2. Unruly Things: Contingency
        1. Change can be initiated by events anywhere within an entanglement (159)
        2. Ideational, social and political realms produce events out of the interactions between humans and things, whether religious wars over access to holy places, social conflict over ethnic leadership or political tensions over forms of government. (160)
        3. PROBLEM: Aren’t the above issues between people?
      3. Conjunction of Temporalities
        1. Humans and things have different temporalities (life span), so we often have to intervene in things that were made long ago, causing unanticipated dependencies.
        2. Different things, working on different temporalities within different entanglements may suddenly cross, creating an entirely new formation (malaria ex.)
      4. Catalysis: Small Things and the Emergence of Big Effects
        1. Openness + Unruly Things + Conj. Of Temp. = small events can have big effects within entanglements
        2. These cause the untying of an entanglement, making it less taut.
    2. Is There a Directionality to Entanglement?
      1. Evolution is not directional or teleological, but it is based on previous history
      2. Entanglements are directional because going backwards becomes impossible
      3. In this way, entanglements are about digging a hole
      4. Some Neolithic Examples
        1. Çatalöyük – Wild cattle decrease > domesticate cattle > still dependent on cattle, but can’t go back to wild
      5. Macro-evolutionary Approaches
        1. Believes that organisms have batches of traits that are passed together that have a structure or architecture
        2. Directionality is produced by the hierarchical nature of cultural processes; … it is also produced by ‘exaptation’ – this is when a feature takes on a new adaptive function different from its original function, leading to greater organizational complexity through time.
      6. Why do Entanglements Increase the Rate of Change?
        1. The more stuff, and the more complex, the easier it is to break or disconnect things, causing possible untying
    3. Conclusion
      1. Humans and things have unruly interactions resulting from openness, discontinuity and the co-presence of multiple temporalities in social life. (177)
      2. the change of entanglements tends to be directional in that it is difficult to reverse human-thing dependences. (177)
      3. rates of cultural change have increased as the scale and complexity of human-thing entanglement have increased … [so] there is more need for fixing things along the chains and webs of human-thing dependence.
  1. Ch. 9 Tracing the Threads…
    1. Tanglegrams
      1. [CLAY TANGLEGRAM] (181)
        1. one way arrow = depends on
        2. two way arrow = co=depends, often dependency
        3. rectangle = dependence relationship w/ humans
        4. circle = not involved with humans
      2. key struts”
    2. Locating Entanglements
      1. Find them using spatial contexts
        1. Ex. Why are the houses so close in Çatalhöyük?
      2. there is no base – everything holds everything up
        1. ex. The roof of the dig site
    3. Sequencing Entanglements – at Çatalhöyük

Not just ties to spatial matrices, but also:

      1. Operation step-wise sequences
        1. There is a temporality to human-thing interactions. We have to wait for one step to be completed in a productive process before we can proceed to the next step. (189)
        3. [SEASON CHANGING CHART] (191)
      2. life histories of things
        1. things get used. reused, discarded
        2. some things becomes markers or memories and have new meaning
      3. historical sequences of categories of things
        1. battleship curves represent problems gradually being fixed (clay balls to pots)
        2. [CLAY BALL CHART] (193)
        3. Types and traits persist to the extent that they are ‘fitting’ within entanglements. (192)
      4. Legacies
        1. Things either hang around or die out – when something hangs around for a really long time, it gains symbolic meaning
        2. [LEGACY CHART]
    1. Sequencing Entanglements – Origins of Agriculture in the Middle East

A package of traits:


      1. Agricultural economy based on domesticated plants and animals introduce slowly over millennia
      2. Population increase
      3. Storage of surplus goods
      4. Sedentism
      5. Trade networks (shells & obsidian)
      6. Communal social institutions
      7. Magico-religious tradition
      8. Ground stone implements
      9. Ceramics
      10. Weaving implements
    1. Causality and Directionality
      1. People become dependent on a tool (ground stone), so they either have to stay put and miss the nomadic game or move and arrange a way to get the stone – entanglements ensue
      2. entanglement provides a general framework in which change in human societies comes about as a complex process in which there are no set causal factors and much depends on the specific conjunctures that bring people and things together in specific historic contexts, and yet there is an overall direction. (202-3)
      3. daily problem solving compounded by thousands of years looks like linear progression
    2. Conclusions
      1. The concept is Fruitful, no?
      2. Change can be gradual, but also sudden and unexpected
  1. Ch 10. Conclusions
    1. Key claims in the book:
      1. Entanglement is the dialectic of dependence and dependency between humans and things (Chapters 2–5).
      2. Central to human-thing entanglements are the temporalities of things, their scheduling and sequencing; things have to be done in a certain order (Chapter 3).
      3. Entanglement is compounded by conceptual abstractions and bodily reso- nance, a reverberation between mind, body and the world of things (Chapter 6).
      4. Entanglement occurs between humans and all things but the physical processes of material things contribute an entrapment, stickiness and practical messiness 
(Chapter 5).
      5. It is not the material conditions of social life that determine the direction of 
change but the tautness (the entrapment) of heterogeneous entanglements (Chapter 5).
      6. Human-thing dependence is unstable and unruly (humans and things have vitality) leading to processes of untying (catalysis) in which emergent phe- nomena appear and fixing solutions are sought (Chapter 8).
      7. Things evolve and transform because they are fitting within particular entanglements (Chapters 6 and 7).
      8. We dig ourselves into holes as a result of the tautness of entanglements so that overall there is an irreversibility to entanglement (Chapter 8).
      9. The concept of entanglement allows a fuller integration of the humanities, social sciences, biological and material sciences in the study of things; entanglements are heterogeneous (Chapter 5). (206-7)
    2. The Object Nature of Things
      1. Entanglements avoids subject/object, material/ideal dualisms
      2. PROBLEM: does it, though?
      3. When things go wrong, they must be fixed in a way that ‘fits’
      4. Core principle of dependence
      5. Material things that tie us only become invisible when there is a problem
      6. Things seem stable, but only because people are working hard to keep that stability, we are always on the brink of untying. We pay bills and depend on the labor of others
      7. PROBLEM: not everyone benefits. What about those others’ labor?
    3. Too Much Stuff?
      1. I took HH for granted in the early chapters
      2. PROBLEM: This id the book’s problem, the lack of HH interaction. It’s the reason why there is no agency, creativity, or oppression featured in the book. He goes on to address this, but it’s not enough.
      3. It has not been my aim to under-estimate the importance of HH relations, but these relations often enlist the other three types of dependence and as a result humans are embroiled in things. (211)
    4. Temporality and Structure
      1. Entanglement is fundamentally about time
        1. (Huh? Suddenly its about time?)
    5. Power and Agency
      1. It might be argued that I have paid insufficient attention to the workings of power in my account of entanglement. I have rather taken power differentials as implicit in dependency and in ownership, obligations, duties and regulation. And yet power has been a constant theme ever-present within entanglements as I have described them. Humans depend on things (HT) in order to build, maintain and justify power. They depend on things to control others. (213)
        1. (Foucault disagrees)
        2. So do I
      2. The entanglement of humans and things in the slave trade (guns, slaves, sugar, enabled by bigger, faster ships) became associated with appalling inequality as dominant groups protected their investments and coerced others into dependency relations with them. Entanglements can be productive and distributive but also viciously unequal, destructive and disempowering. (214)
      3. PROBLEM: Big problem. ‘Things’ did not kidnap, sell, and breed African people. This is one of the oversights that come from not having the HH in the equation. He acts as if the slave trade just ‘happened’ with all it’s entanglements in place. Also, are slaves things or humans here? If domesticated animals are things ‘made’ by people (as opposed to wild animals), are slaves equally ‘made’ by people, due to breeding, labor, and enclosure? Are slaves ‘domesticated’ humans in this framework?
      4. the emphasis in entanglement theory is less on the agent itself and more on the networks of entanglement that make possible and constrain certain forms of agency and certain forms of agent. (215)
    6. To and From Formulaic Reduction
      1. The book, as math:
        1. E + problem + fix = En
          1. E = entanglement and n > 1


        1. Increase in dependence -> Increase in dependency
          1. = leads to


        1. E(locale A) + problem + fix = E(total)n

Or finally

        1. E + fittingness + conjunctural event -> problem -> fixing -> selection -> E’
      1. Many things that ‘go wrong’ are made to go wrong by human conflict and intervention. And whether we think something has gone wrong depends partly on our social positioning. (217)
    1. Things again
      1. I left out institutions as things
    2. Some Ethical Considerations
      1. Reducing things to their relational properties – undermines the power of things to entrap, and particularly to trap the more vulnerable whether these be the victims of the AIDs virus, the work gang bound by chains, the women bound by child rearing, the populations bound by global agricultural systems (220)
      2. PROBLEM: to say that everyone of those examples does not have human intent is ridiculous.
      3. big picture: as humans we are involved in a dance with things that cannot be stopped, since we are only human through things. (220) (wha?)
      4. It seems right that we do what we can to save forests, decrease carbon emissions, protect endangered species. It seems right that we individually use less fuel in our cars and put solar panels on our roofs. (221)
        1. (If we have a house and a car and money)
    3. The Last Thing on my Mind
      1. I have achieved this synthetic integration by selecting aspects of theories that serve my purpose. (223)
      2. however much theories in the social sciences aim to be comprehensive there is always something left over, some awkwardness where the theory does not quite work, or some gaps that are left unaddressed. (224)
      3. I have pointed to the relative lack of focus on HH dependences and on power and agency. (224)
      4. But in the end perhaps the main attraction of entanglement, ironically its main neatness, is its messiness. (224)
      5. PROBLEM: That’s not enough. Just because you point it out doesn’t make it okay. Hodder creates a theory of the way the entire world works and has worked for all of history, and he leaves out any concept of agency OR human to human interactions? Then at the end he says ‘I know I left that out, sorry” as if acknowledgment sews up the holes that leaves in his theory? Too late, dude. Things fall apart.
  • Questions:
  • Ch. ? – How do we feel about domesticated animals as things, but feral animals left out of the equation? Fair to domesticated animals? Where ARE the other animals? A hole in the concept?
  • Ch. 5 – Sailing, tennis, air travel… can we talk about class? What would Saida say about Hodder’s frames of reference? Come to think of it, where are Hodder’s developing world examples? Who is this book for?
  • Chapter 6 – What about artistic creativity? If every work of visual art, music, architecture… is embedded into a situation in which it fits, where does new art (or for that matter art) come from?

Entanglement is the dialectic of dependence and dependency between humans and things (Chapters 2–5).

Central to human-thing entanglements are the temporalities of things, their scheduling and sequencing; things have to be done in a certain order (Chapter 3).

Entanglement is compounded by conceptual abstractions and bodily reso- nance, a reverberation between mind, body and the world of things (Chapter 6).

Entanglement occurs between humans and all things but the physical processes of material things contribute an entrapment, stickiness and practical messiness 
(Chapter 5).

It is not the material conditions of social life that determine the direction of 
change but the tautness (the entrapment) of heterogeneous entanglements (Chapter 5).

Human-thing dependence is unstable and unruly (humans and things have vitality) leading to processes of untying (catalysis) in which emergent phe- nomena appear and fixing solutions are sought (Chapter 8).

Things evolve and transform because they are fitting within particular entanglements (Chapters 6 and 7).

We dig ourselves into holes as a result of the tautness of entanglements so that overall there is an irreversibility to entanglement (Chapter 8).

The concept of entanglement allows a fuller integration of the humanities, social sciences, biological and material sciences in the study of things; entanglements are heterogeneous (Chapter 5). (206-7)


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