The symmetries and asymmetries of human-thing relations. A dialogue

Ian Hodder, Gavin Lucas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents a dialogue about the question of symmetry and asymmetry in human-thing relations, and the links between such asymmetries and those encountered in power relations amongst humans. The conversation discusses various issues, such as whether symmetry is possible in any kind of relation, how one defines asymmetry, whether there are different kinds of asymmetry, and how inequality between humans is related to the asymmetries in human-thing entanglements. The last issue is considered especially important in light of the various critiques that have been levelled at actor networks and other relational materialisms for their weakened political stance insofar as sources of inequality and injustice are so widely distributed that they become, in effect, apolitical.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-137
Number of pages19
JournalArchaeological Dialogues
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2017.

Other keywords

  • asymmetry
  • dependency
  • Entanglement theory
  • humans
  • power
  • things


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