Why Is Theory Relevant To Archeological Practice?

Submitted By neonpuppies
Words: 775
Pages: 4

Midterm Extra Credit

Why is theory relevant to archeological practice or, to put it another way, why is common sense not enough, according to the author (Johnson) of your theory textbook? Theory is relevant to archeological practice because as archeologists we need to justify what we do, we need to evaluate one interpretation of the past against another, to decide which is the stronger, we must be explicit in what we do as archeologists, and finally we don’t ‘need’ theory we all use theory whether we like it or not. What Johnson means by this numerous list of why theory is relevant is that archeology is very important and should not be ignored, we as humans should know what happened in the past or at least try to reconstruct it, learn from it, and in turn make better judgements about the future. And obviously common sense is not enough when it comes to working with archeological finds and studies because these findings take time and plenty of evaluation to process accurately and thinking outside the box is necessary.
What are the consequences of the normative view of culture, according to Johnson? The consequences of the normative view of culture according to Johnson are that artifacts are expressions of cultural norms like ideas in peoples heads and lastly that those norms define what ‘culture’ is. What Johnson means by the first one is that culture depends on a number of different traits coming together rather than on one trait alone. And what Johnson means by the second consequence is that cultures tend to be viewed as unchanging which is a big mistake because there are always outside forces pushing for new change.
What is “social constructivism”? Social Constructivism is the belief that scientific knowledge is not purely objective, but is at least partly or entirely socially constructed. Which means that the scientific knowledge is not neutral of information from cultural norms and values, but is actually made up in support of significant values and understandings.
What is the difference between “formal” and “relational” analogies? Formal analogies lay simply on the notion that is some elements of the two situations are similar, others must be also. And in contrast; relational analogies rest on a cultural or natural connection between the two contexts as with the direct historical method, where connections based on cultural continuity can be suggested.
What are the five criticisms of the functionalism of processual thinking that Johnson outlines? Number one is a flaw at the heart of functional explanation. If we explain something by reference to its function in keeping a total system going, this does not explain where it came from historically. Like Royalty for example, who appointed them? Did the common people come together and decide someone needs to take charge? Or did the royals just give them the response they always give “God put us in charge.” Number two processual arguments depend on functional linkages, But there links are always open to doubt in specific terms. There may be alternative strategies available to individuals and cultures that are