Create/ innovate
in An archaeology of innovation
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This chapter builds on the previous one to explore the related phenomena of creativity and innovativeness. It starts with a discussion of the evolution of modern humans and how ideas of creativity and technological innovation have been bound up for centuries in our concept of what it means to be human. This case study leads into a discussion of creativity, grounded in recent archaeological research by Joanna Sofaer and linking back to earlier discussions of creative re-interpretation, re-combination and resistance. This is followed by a discussion of innovativeness – essentially creativity on a societal scale – that starts in models from psychology and organizational studies and contrasts these with a case study of Cornish miners in nineteenth-century Australia. These more contemporary examples are contrasted with evolutionary archaeological approaches that identify demographic pressure and population density as causal factors in innovative behavior in prehistoric societies. The chapter argues that these divergent approaches can by integrated through the application of non-anthropocentric models of social interaction, in which shifting makeups of heterogeneous networks of humans, non-humans, things, and places affect how individual people and communities navigate their world, leading to emergent innovativeness.

An archaeology of innovation

Approaching social and technological change in human society


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