Twisted Lives: On the Temporality and Materiality of Biographical Presences

Mímisson, Kristján
September 2012
International Journal of Historical Archaeology;Sep2012, Vol. 16 Issue 3, p455
Academic Journal
People's biographies are dominated by a multitude of factors. In recent years it has come to a general understanding that people's life histories are embedded in things just as things are premising the biographies of people. Still, the scholarly discussion has concentrated heavily on individual biographies resulting in life-histories of bodies and individuals confined by their bodily framework rather than conceptualizing the person through the mutual interaction between people and things and the interrelationship between various presences in the revelation of the temporality and materiality of biography. In this paper I aim to explore the category of personal biography resting upon aspects of Heideggerian philosophy. I argue for biographical presences that are spread across time, subjected to shared participation and intrinsically intertwined with the narratives they generate. The argumentation rests upon my personal involvement with the biography of a seventeenth-century peasant from the farm Búðarárbakki in southern Iceland. The site and its material culture have emerged as the cause and consequence of our shared life-histories manifesting the notion of multi-temporality and materiality to the category of biography.


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