The Consumption of Ideas and the Production of Behavior: Past and Present in Annapolis, Maryland

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This paper flows from the attempt currently under way in Annapolis, Maryland to operationalize a critical archaeology. The original focus of the paper was to be the reclusive nature of material culture, the ability of objects and assemblages of objects to teach and enforce standards of behavior. I was going to link that idea to the rest of the papers in this session through a metaphorical use of the concepts "production" and "consumption" to characterize the flow of ideas and the direction of social behavior. I will still mount that argument but the balance of this paper consists of a series of observations and arguments resulting from a varied set of reactions to the paper I delivered at the recent meeting of the society for Historical Archaeology, in Savannah (Potter 1987). This second set of arguments has to do with the intricacies of taking critical theory out of the classroom and putting it on the ground-- or in the ground, as the case may be. Therefore, this paper will be more about the production and consumption of the past than about production and consumption in the past.


Presented at: The Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology; Toronto, Canada, May, 1987.