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Daily Practice and Material Culture in Pluralistic Social Settings: An Archaeological Study of Culture Change and Persistence from Fort Ross, California

Kent G. Lightfoot, Antoinette Martinez and Ann M. Schiff
American Antiquity
Vol. 63, No. 2 (Apr., 1998), pp. 199-222
DOI: 10.2307/2694694
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2694694
Page Count: 24
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Daily Practice and Material Culture in Pluralistic Social Settings: An Archaeological Study of Culture Change and Persistence from Fort Ross, California
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Abstract

This paper presents an archaeological approach to the study of culture change and persistence in multi-ethnic communities through the study of daily practices and based on a crucial tenet of practice theory-that individuals will enact and construct their underlying organizational principles, worldviews, and social identities in the ordering of daily life. The study of habitual routines is undertaken in a broadly diachronic and comparative framework by examining daily practices from a multiscalar perspective. The approach is employed in a case study on the organization of daily life of interethnic households composed of Native Californian women and Native Alaskan men at the Russian colony of Fort Ross in northern California. Recognizing that different opportunities and choices existed for household members in this colonial setting, we explore how they constructed their own unique identities by examining the spatial layout of residential space, the ordering of domestic tasks, and the structure of trash disposal. We argue that trash deposits and middens in built environments, which often accumulate through routinized tasks, present great promise for examining the processes of culture change and persistence in archaeology.

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