Reflexive Thinking - A Substitute for Analogy? An Example of a Debate on Ancient Economy

  • Zorica Kuzmanović Department of Archaeology Faculty of Philosophy University of Belgrade
archaeology, analogical thought, reflexivity, premodern economy, modernity


Traditional debates on analogical thinking, which is at the root of all knowledge about the past, were founded on the scientific-methodological postulate of the striving for increased control of conditions that affect the research situation, that is, the pre-methodological consensus on the need for objectifying, depersonalizing and regulating research. Faithful to the inherited ideals of objective social science, the archaeological discussion on analogy has for decades focused exclusively on logical-epistemological issues of general methodology; however, it has actually contributed very little to overcoming the fact that the past is not objectively knowable. By introducing the concept of reflexivity into the debate on the analogical character of archaeological thinking, the paper aims to recontextualize the analogy debate which aspires to the positivist ideals of a social science, into a debate on archaeology as a social practice which inevitably and continually draws analogies between the past and the present and thus establishes the meanings of the world we live in. Rethinking archaeological analogies by means of a conceptual apparatus developed in anthropological and sociological debates on reflexivity provides a new research perspective in which the use of analogies moves beyond the sphere of debates on logical consistency and becomes a social practice aware of the semantic and hence also political implications of the knowledge it produces.


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How to Cite
Kuzmanović, Zorica. 2010. “Reflexive Thinking - A Substitute for Analogy? An Example of a Debate on Ancient Economy”. Issues in Ethnology and Anthropology 5 (1), 151 -64.
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