Book: Local Experiences of Connectivity and Mobility in the Ancient West-Central Mediterranean
Chapter: 5. A Lower-case ‘g’ Globalized World? Examining Three Paradigms of Culture Contact in Middle and Late Bronze Age Sicily
The late second millennium BC represented a high-water mark for pre-colonial material connections in the central Mediterranean. A globalization perspective, however, does not represent a good analytical ‘fit’ for the period, given the region’s lack of hyper-connectivity, or the intensive interdependencies that globalization demands. The evidence for contact is neither plentiful nor intense enough to facilitate useful analogies between the present and this period of the past. Nevertheless, certain concepts drawn from globalization studies may provide novel interpretations that avoid anachronistic pitfalls. Examining material changes through the lens of Nederveen Pieterse’s (2015: 45-59) ‘paradigms’ of cultural globalization (culture clash, McDonaldization, and hybridization) opens new avenues of interpretation that do not require prolonged or direct contact. This study employs Middle-Late Bronze Age archaeological assemblages from Sicily (i.e., architecture at Thapsos, and Pantalica North pottery) to demonstrate how each paradigm has interpretive value regarding changing material practices, and the communities involved.