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Individual Paper: Degrowing ‘Objects’ and Archaeological Excavation Labour

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This paper comes at degrowth from a philosophical tradition within Science and Technology Studies, and aims to provoke, in a convivial manner, dominant conceptions of science for degrowth. Elaborating on ethnographic research into the various ways archaeologists endeavour in bodily knowing by means of their sense of touch, I propose that degrowth might benefit from a speculative and descriptive approach to how knowing is done within scientific field practices, and in particular within archaeology.

Drawing on photographs of bodily practices in excavation, this paper experiments with how archaeological excavation practices might constitute an indigenous science of degrowing. As such it is proposed that archaeologists’ ‘scientific subjectivities’ become more speculative and affective, during their co-crafting of common intimacies with local trenches. Archaeology intervenes into sustainable dwellings within landscapes of past, present, and future (Hicks, 2016). Observations in participation from the field however show that a scientific ideology might inflate discovered objects as well as bodies, beyond the sensibility of their practices, alluding to the social cost associated with epistemic (and economic) growth.

Following up on this modern inflation of finished and showcased objects, archaeology has been called the discipline of things (Olsen et al., 2012). Proposing instead a transversal degrowing of things and objects from an inherited Kantian scheme of things, bodily practices of archaeological knowing fold and re-fold conceptions of time through their dealings with contingent events of the past. As medium of experience, and memory of the past, the archaeologist’s ‘degrowing’ excavation labour therefore seems particularly interesting for a politics of relations in present times (see Benjamin, 1999).


Day: 2018-08-23
Start time: 11:30
Duration: 00:15
Room: ABF (209)
Track: Expanding Geographies of Degrowth



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