Material Agency

Towards a Non-Anthropocentric Approach

  • Carl Knappett
  • Lambros Malafouris

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xix
  2. John Law, Annemarie Mol
    Pages 57-77
  3. Owain Jones, Paul Cloke
    Pages 79-96
  4. Richard Harper, Alex Taylor, Micheal Molloy
    Pages 97-119
  5. Andrew Cochrane
    Pages 157-186
  6. Sander E. van der Leeuw
    Pages 217-247
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 249-256

About this book


Agency is a key theme that cross-cuts a wide raft of disciplines in the humanities, social sciences and beyond; yet it is invariably discussed separately behind closed disciplinary doors.

Within archaeology, agency has been characterized as a uniquely human attribute, and a means of incorporating individual intentionality into theoretical discourse. In other domains, however, notions of non-human and ‘material’ agency have been finding currency, and it is our aim to introduce some of these themes into archaeology and develop a non-anthropocentric approach to agency.

It is anticipated that such a perspective will not only help us achieve more convincing interpretations of the past, giving a more active role to material culture, but also throw new light on the changing role of artifacts in the present and the future.

This book is a groundbreaking attempt to address questions of non-human and material agency from a wide range of perspectives and disciplines: archaeology, anthropology, sociology, cognitive science, philosophy, and economics. The editors and authors demostrate that a distributed, relational approach to agency, incorporating both humans and artifacts, has important ramifications for how we understand material culture.


Archaeology Material Culture Pierre Bourdieu Skill Studies Sociology archaeology of memory artifacts cognitive science intelligent artefacts material agency material entities science social theory symbiotic relationships

Editors and affiliations

  • Carl Knappett
    • 1
  • Lambros Malafouris
    • 2
  1. 1.University of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.University of CambridgeCambridgeUK

Bibliographic information