Social syntax: An approach to spatial modification through the reworking of space syntax for archaeological applications

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Abstract

Space syntax provides an approach to architecture that allows for the interpretation of social organization. However, many researchers who attempt archaeological applications have commented on the framework's inability to provide novel insights on spatial patterns, particularly in areas without an explicit and established social hierarchy. Many of the noted problems are tied to the absence of a consideration of the relationships among the intentions of builders, the lived experiences of occupants, and the impact of alterations to architecture. To address these issues, space syntax is reworked to focus on modifications to space through a combination of insights derived from practice theory and the life history/object biography approaches. Entitled social syntax, this framework integrates the useful graphic representations of space syntax with a focus on room life histories/biographies and a consideration of the dialectical interplay between architecture (structure) and occupants (agents). To illustrate the utility of this framework, it is applied to two room blocks from Homol'ovi I, an ancestral Hopi village in northeastern Arizona. This application highlights the strength and flexibility of social syntax as a framework for archaeological analyses focused on understanding how the use and meaning of architectural space develops throughout village occupation and depopulation.

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APA

Fladd, S. G. (2017). Social syntax: An approach to spatial modification through the reworking of space syntax for archaeological applications. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, 47, 127–138. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaa.2017.05.002

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