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Book: Levantine Entanglements

Chapter: 3. Lenses on Accumulative Cultural Production in the Southern Levant: Toward a Middle-Range Interpretive Methodology

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.38440


In this chapter, I discuss a number of analytical perspectives that have presented themselves as relevant for elucidating long-term patterns of accumulative cultural production and change reflected in finds from five decades of archaeological research at Tall Hisban in Jordan. The core concern of this chapter, and in particular of this investigator’s contribution to the LDG project, has been to posit a methodology for operationalizing research on long-term cultural change in the Southern Levant. To this end, Fernand Braudel’s tri-part schema of history is deployed as a point of departure: histoire événementielle, or the short-term history of individuals, governments, and social movements; conjunctures, or the quasi-long-term history of nations, empires and civilizations; and la longue durée, or the long-term history of humans in their environments (Braudel and Mayne 1995; Smith 1992). The great merit of the Braudelian schema is that it provides a much needed rationale and legitimacy for this quest to derive analytical lenses by means of which drivers of accumulative cultural production could be identified and appraised. The chapter identifies and describes a number of different analytical lenses such as the Braudelian tri-part history, time geography, cultural production, Ratchet effect, world systems theory, political economy and political ecology, global history, extreme events, fragmentation-connectivity, ethnoarchaeology, food systems, intensification and abatement, resilience, polycentrism, great and little traditions, cultural memory and desired pasts, canonical ecology, connectivity, Great Acceleration, Anthropocene, and finally entanglement. The pertinence of these various lenses for operationalizing research on Braudel’s three-partite history is adumbrated and discussed. The chapter concludes by gathering these various lenses within a single analytical framework, namely the Accumulative Cultural Production Model (ACP).

Chapter Contributors

  • Øystein LaBianca ( - oslabianca) 'Andrews University'