PUBLICATION: Persisting technological boundaries

PUBLICATION

« Persisting technological boundaries: Social interactions, cognitive correlations and polarization »

by Valentine Roux, Blandine Bril, Jessie Cauliez, Anne-Lise Goujon, Catherine Lara, Claire Manen, Geoffroy de Saulieu and Etienne Zangato.

in Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, Volume 48, December 2017, Pages 320-335.

Lien vers l’article ici / To download the article

Highlights

• Field studies examine the conditions for persistence of technological boundaries.
Transmission explains that technological boundaries conform to social boundaries.
Technological standards promote polarization even within same social groups.
Polarization increases when technological boundaries conform to social boundaries.
Non-diffusion of techniques is expected when close technologically marked groups interact.

Abstract

In this paper, we address the question of the conditions for persistence of technological boundaries. We use field studies to test the predictions generated by a theoretical model in analytical sociology and examine the micro-processes at stake in the non-diffusion of techniques: to which extent techniques contributes to a sharp disagreement between groups and promote polarization? The ultimate goal is to provide archaeologists with an empirically tested model to explain spatial distribution of technological clusters and maintenance of technological boundaries. Field studies examine ethnographic situations in four countries where social groups using different ceramic techniques for making utilitarian vessels live in close geographical proximity. Two situations enable us to examine the conditions under which technological boundaries persist, while two others enable us to analyze, through a boundary-making perspective, how differences in craft techniques contribute to polarization. Our data suggest that in a context where different techniques are used for different types of object there is a cognitive bias which fosters technological polarization. This cognitive bias develops in the course of interactions between actors living in close geographical proximity. Polarization increases when technological standards are used by different social groups, thereby favoring negative influence and persistent technological boundaries.

Keywords

Technological boundaries; Non-diffusion; Ceramic traditions; Cognitive bias; Learning process; Polarization; Social interactions; Ethno-archaeology

 


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