How archaeological communities think
Re-thinking Ludwik Fleck’s concept of the thought-collective according to the case of Serbian archaeology
in Communities and knowledge production in archaeology

While the history of archaeology is commonly considered as progressive, a linear development of scientific knowledge which invariably passes through four paradigmatic stages, the history of Serbian archaeology has evolved under numerous stimuli and found itself under the influence of local social conservatism in Yugoslavia throughout most of the twentieth century. There is a general consensus that archaeological concepts, practices, theories and methods originating from a west European context are adopted only in a delayed fashion into peripheral environments (such as Serbia). This would falsely imply that the subsequent development of archaeology in other regions has the same objectives in mind, which need not be the case for all movements of thought. The intersection of the theory of the thought-collective and the history of ideas in archaeology prompts specific areas for research, including questions that indicate where the epistemological limitations of archaeology in different historical contexts could be on the basis of informal aspects of communication among archaeologists. The example of Serbian archaeology is analysed using Fleck’s concepts to better view their strengths and weaknesses.


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