Accepted Paper:

Reconsidering disciplinary divides: an historical approach  


Anwen Cooper (Durham University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper uses data from a series of life-history interviews to reconsider perceived disciplinary divides in British archaeology over the past 30 years. It considers both the productive and the negative effects of such divides, providing a vital historical context for the current state of affairs.

Paper long abstract:

This paper uses evidence from life-history interviews undertaken with practitioners from across the broad spectrum of British archaeology to reconsider perceived disciplinary divides. It examines the changing character of different disciplinary groupings over the duration of the past 30 years, situates notions of disciplinary separation in relation to concomitant views that the archaeological community is small and tight-knit, renders ways in which the operation of disciplinary relationships (both cohesive and divisive) has actually been implicated in recent and contemporary research practices, and examines how disciplinary disunity (or at least perceptions of disciplinary disunity) can actually be quite productive. In doing so, it provides a vital historical context for understanding current disciplinary dividing lines and tensions, and evinces the fluidity and complexity of even the most seemingly entrenched of archaeology's social and epistemological boundaries.

Panel S14
Drawing epistemological lines in the sand