General Approach

General approach: multiple temporalities and multiple geographies

The IMPRS aims to cross methodological boundaries between anthropology, archaeology and history as they have crystallized since the nineteenth century.

In socio-cultural anthropology fieldwork has become the dominant research method, resulting in analyses set in the “ethnographic present”. Most historians lack interview partners and rely heavily on documents, while through archaeological investigations of material traces we can reach back much further into the past. Without giving up their specializations, scholars have much to learn from each other. For example, an ethnographic study of a postsocialist community may be enriched not only through archival research but also through archaeological analyses of materiality.


  1. Periodisation is an indispensable analytical instrument in all study of the past; but the ‘ruptures’, ‘breakthroughs’ and ‘revolutions’ on which such classifications depend must be rigorously scrutinised and due recognition given to continuities, and perhaps on occasion even to stagnation. For example, what exactly do we mean in applying the same term ‘revolution’ to the Bolshevik seizure of power in 1917 and to the Neolithic?

  2. Conventional spatial boundaries must receive the same close scrutiny. It is anticipated that some ANARCHIE projects will focus on recent generations, and all are likely to be post-Neolithic. During these millennia we emphasize the unity of Eurasia and reject the notion that Europe and Asia are equivalent ‘continental’ entities. Within the Eurasian framework, ANARCHIE projects will investigate the emergence and decline of sub-units (and perceptions thereof), diverse regional developments and continuous exchange processes between regions.
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