The Lure of Origins : An Inquiry into Human-Environmental Relations, Focused on the ”Neolithization” of Sweden

Abstract: The purpose of this dissertation is to contribute to the discussion of the deeper meaning, in our contemporary context, of the ”neolithization” of Sweden. The basis for the investigation is twofold: ' a critical examination of recent research reports dealing mostly with the Early Neolithic of (Middle) Sweden which shows, inter alia, that ”agriculture” was of marginal importance for a very long time from about 4000 BC onwards, while, at the same time, the idea of ”the transition to farming” dominates discourse. This paradox is then confronted with ' a critical and constructive study of certain ideas (notably those of Tim Ingold, Jakob von Uexküll, and so-called activity theory) on the nature of human/environmental relations, focusing on three kinds of human-environment relationships: human organisms and biological environments, human persons and artifacts, and human beings and other beings in the context of symbolism. The dissertation is written from the point of view of how the archaeological discussion can be read outside of the direct purview of archaeology itself. The ”neolithization” issue, in other words, is not primarily discussed in the terms of its regular (specialized) disciplinary context, but rather in terms of a discussion on the nature of human being in various environmental contexts. The work is, consequently, largely philosophical and theoretical.