This panel explores whether space and architecture can provide a framework for an effective interaction between social anthropology and archaeology, and whether, despite their different methodologies, the two disciplines can complement each other towards a fuller understanding of human societies.
The study of space and architecture is increasingly recognised as fundamental in social archaeological and anthropological analysis, whether generally, as an integral part of any cultural, social or ideological aspect of life, or specifically, in terms of the spatial dimension of social action, groups and practices and the materialisation of social relationships. This panel aims to explore whether space can provide a meaningful framework for an effective interaction between anthropology and archaeology. Can it serve as a common conceptual and analytical means for an inter-disciplinary approach to social organisation? What are the contrasts and complementarities between the two disciplines on this subject? Do their different methodologies really separate their respective considerations of human societies, past and present, or should they rather be seen as complementing each other in practice and as potentially leading to a fuller understanding of social life? In short, is there any obvious reason why the long-held barriers between social anthropology and archaeology should be maintained, or is it time to start breaking them down? We will warmly welcome papers by both anthropologists and archaeologists that tease out answers through consideration of different scales of space and through a variety of key issues, including houses, households, kinship, gender, identity, socialisation and social reproduction, symbolic representation, and any other social category that falls within the subject of space. We are interested primarily in papers that will bring out and discuss views and disciplinary and inter-disciplinary experiences in studying the above topics rather than in case-studies themselves.