I'm just trying to catch up with this thread...
Re. Simon James - I'd be interested in what ways you think he's a
'projectionist'? (As he's generally seen as arguing /against/ projecting
modern identities onto the past).
With regard to techniques of studying culture (and identities, which are
inseparable), there's well established theories out there (these've been
going about 40 years, but have developed over this time), drawing on both
sociological and anthropological work (if anyone's interested, and can
suggest some light-ish reading matter!). Whilst some still take a
culture-history approach (i.e. trying to fit the archaeology to the texts,
which has often misrepresented the past), many historians starting using
sociological theory in the 90s (indeed, not to do so now is seen as a bit
inadequate by many in academia: with the application of theoretical
frameworks, we can get more from the evidence, limit supposition, and it
forces a more critical use of the evidence - there's less jumping to
conclusions). As approaches, Giddens' (and Jenkins') work are most useful
(though in the US, Bordieu and Bentley are perhaps more popular).
On Tue, 12 Feb 2008 21:20:05 -0700, John Hooker <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>I think it is far better to use these sort of techniques to analyze the
>past. Societies are complex things. Imposing characteristics on them,
>ignoring other characteristics and restricting what can and cannot define
>culture is just projection.
>Simon James seems to be one of the best "projectionists" when it comes to
>the Celts, and he has fed on what many others really wanted to believe.
>Anyone who would ignore the language, art and religion of a culture, let
>alone all of the other complexities, really should not claim to know it at
>> --- John Hooker <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>> Carts before horses! C.F. are just an observation of
>>> what already exists,
>>> not its cause.
>> I'll take your word on that, and thanks for
>> clarifying...although I am still a bit worried on it.
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