This EU funded project (H2020 Grant no: 752179) explores the fundamental social question of the creation of value, by investigating House societies in Bronze Age Crete (3100-1200 BC).
Houses are understood as intergenerational, locus-bound social groups, holding an estate of material and symbolic wealth, transmitted along a real or imaginary line, legitimised by kinship or affinity, or both (Levi-Strauss 1982, 174). Because of their distinct focus on the creation and transmission of value, Houses are an ideal framework for exploring this question, but their longevity makes it difficult to explain change. By fusing Houses with the philosophical and sociological premises of assemblage theory, arguing that social entities are not fixed but constituted by relationships between humans, non-humans and materials that can territorialize and deterritorialize value (Deleuze & Guattari, 1987; De Landa 2006), the project aims to create a new social ontology which perceives Houses in a constant state of becoming, continuously affecting and being affected by the changing social world they inhabit. The methodological advantage of this interdisciplinary model, combining philosophical, sociological, archaeological and scientific perspectives, will be demonstrated empirically through the integrated use of GIS spatial analysis and material culture analysis, in a series of case studies (selected on the basis of availability of good contextual information for primary data and a large corpus of published evidence) targeting three strategic scales of House formation and interaction: a single site (Petras), its regional context (East Crete) and their broader geopolitical networks (the Aegean and the East Mediterranean). Exploring Houses as Assemblages offers an original integration of spatial, material and social scales that can revitalise our understanding of past societies.
De Landa, M. 2006, Deleuzian Social Ontology and Assemblage Theory, in M. Fuglsang and B.M. Sørensen (eds.), Deleuze and the Social, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 250-51
Deleuze, G. and F. Guattari 1987, A Thousand Plateaus, Capitalism and Schizophrenia (vol. II). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Levi-Strauss, J.-C. 1982, The Way of the masks. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 174.