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Guldgubbar's changing ontology.: Scandinavian Late Iron Age gold foil figures through the lense of intra-action
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of Archaeology and Ancient History.
2020 (English)In: Images in the Making: Art, Process, Archaeology / [ed] Back Danielsson, Ing-Marie and Andrew Meirion Jones, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2020Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This paper discusses Late Iron Age gold foil figures from Scandinavia. The figures can be described as tiny human-like beings stamped on very thin gold foil. They mainly date to what in Sweden is called the Vendel period, c. AD 550–800. Despite a great variety in terms of execution, appearance, etc., they are all known as “guldgubbar” (similar names in Swedish, Danish and Norwegian). They are commonly interpreted in representationalist ways, as representing gods or deities, which has forced them to be static entities that seemingly never change. Attention has not been paid either to the manipulations they have experienced. Instead of using the concept of ‘guldgubbar’ for all golden, tiny humanoid beings I argue that the figures need to be studied from the ground up, highlighting and taking into consideration their relational differences, as well as the different practices and events that they have participated in. In this respect, I consider the images as simultaneously material, affective and emergent (e.g. Bennett 2010), which also means that I am open for ontological relativization (Holbraad and Pedersen 2017, 3); that is I keep an open mind to what these objects are or do. When the gold foil figures are approached in this way, Karen Barad’s concepts of intra-action, apparatuses and phenomenon are especially helpful to illuminate the figures’ multiplicity and unfolding characteristics. Further, by highlighting the figures’ varieties of being and becoming different things or versions of themselves throughout time, changing onto-ethico-epistemological concerns may be more easily recognised and may be addressed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2020.
Series
Social Archaeology and Material Worlds
Keywords [en]
Guldgubbar, ontology, intra-action
National Category
Humanities and the Arts
Research subject
Archaeology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-390630OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-390630DiVA, id: diva2:1342301
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2014-6444EU, FP7, Seventh Framework Programme, INCA600398Available from: 2019-08-13 Created: 2019-08-13 Last updated: 2019-09-05

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf