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Processual and Postprocessual Archaeologies: Multiple Ways of Knowing the Past.

Pluralism is at issue in ROBERT W. PREUCEL's (ed.) Processual and postprocessual achaeologies: multiple ways of knowing the past Center for Archaeological Investigations Occasional Paper 10. xii+324 pages, 18 figures, 1 table. 1991. Carbondale (IL): Southern Illinois University; ISBN 0-88104-074-6 paperback) -- a useful and well-produced conference proceedings with papers from mainly but not exclusively post-processualists under headings of 'archaeology and epistemology', 'the individual and society', 'culture history and culture process', and 'ideology and power', rounded off by an excellent and witty 'view from the provinces' by PATTY JO WATSON decrying the binary opposition of the title that, qua dialectic, MCGUIRE finds so inspiring, and in terms of which 'Binford becomes the personification of a soulless method and Hodder of a methodless soul' (p. 270); she sees rapprochement and resolution as a common-sense necessity if a different divide, that between academic and CRM archaeologists, is not to widen until breaking-point. Within the academy, 'dissonance and radical pluralism is not a good foundation for a successful peer-review process', and thus ultimately for proper public support. If pluralism must be, WATSON proposes that we at least grade theory (p. 274): an agreed 'body of lower-order knowledge about archaeology suitable for public lectures, television, and certain introductory textbooks; a somewhat higher order suitable for National Science Foundation peer review, congressional hearing committees, and lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill; a higher order still with content revealed in theory seminars for Ph.D. candidates; and, finally, the thirty-second degree or jesuitical level achieved only by the most devoted of elite theoreticians, where all is dissonance, absolutely no holds are barred, and publication is a cabbalistic code that can be decyphered only by the fully initiated'.
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Author:Taylor, Timothy; Broodbank, Cyprian
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Mar 1, 1993
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