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)

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