Distinguishing past globalizations

Authored by: Justin Jennings

The Routledge Handbook of Archaeology and Globalization

Print publication date:  November  2016
Online publication date:  November  2016

Print ISBN: 9780415841306
eBook ISBN: 9781315449005
Adobe ISBN:


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Today’s globalization is a ‘very modern phenomenon’ (O’Rourke and Williamson 2002: 47), developed over the past 500 years via an unparalleled surge in the distance, scale, and speed of interregional interactions. Yet people have always interacted across distances, and these interactions, with many peaks and valleys, have increased in intensity over the course of human history (Wenke and Olszewski 2006). With this in mind, there has been increasing interest over the last decade in relating our era of contemporary globalization to earlier periods of intense long-distance interaction and culture change (e.g. Steger 2003; LaBianca and Arnold Scham 2006; Morley 2007; Hodos 2010; Stearns 2010; De Angelis 2013). The scholars doing this research, many of whom are contributors to this volume, join me in recognizing that there are many features that make our current era unique, but nonetheless argue against the idea of modernity as a totalizing rupture with the past (Goody 2006). Globalization, we suggest, can be traced much further back in time.

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