Magical thinking, relational thinking, and the archaeology of the modern world

Author(s): Vesa-Pekka Herva

Year: 2013


Relational and other alternative ontologies and epistemologies have recently been discussed in archaeology, but those discussions have had only a limited impact on historical archaeology. This paper discusses the relationship between relational being/knowing and magical thinking in the modern Western world. It will be proposed that various forms of magical thinking, from Renaissance hermeticism to contemporary popular beliefs, can provide useful insights into the significance of relational being and knowing in the (early) modern period, which in turn helps to elucidate and reassess the dynamic two-way relationships between people and the material world. It will also be suggested that magical and relational thinking have played a more important role in the modern Western world than recognized before. The implications of that view on the research and thinking in historical archaeology will be discussed.

Cite this Record

Magical thinking, relational thinking, and the archaeology of the modern world. Vesa-Pekka Herva. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Leicester, England, U.K. 2013 ( tDAR id: 428214)


Temporal Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: 19.648; min lat: 59.807 ; max long: 31.582; max lat: 70.089 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 377