Catherine J. Frieman
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The widening gyre
in An archaeology of innovation
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This short chapter concludes the volume with a more contemporary perspective on innovation, resistance, and technological change. It draws a parallel between the present world and the interwar years of the early twentieth century to argue that we are currently at a cusp where radical technological developments seem to be less exciting and more terrifying as their consequences become more apparent. The chapter argues that archaeological approaches can offer visions of alternative futures through the construction of myriad alternative pasts. It emphasizes the many different social conformations, aside from individualizing capitalism, that have fostered innovation in the past, and makes clear that capitalist myths of innovation actively erase the contributions of non-dominant individuals – children, women, indigenous people, etc. It concludes with a challenge to the reader to dismantle their preconceptions, draw on a variety of different and contrasting data and approaches, and attempt to construct their own narrative of innovation, past and present.

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An archaeology of innovation

Approaching social and technological change in human society


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