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Ancient Greek History and Contemporary Social Science$
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Mirko Canevaro, Andrew Erskine, Benjamin Gray, and Josiah Ober

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474421775

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474421775.001.0001

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Entanglement, Materiality and the Social Organisation of Construction Workers in Classical Athens

Entanglement, Materiality and the Social Organisation of Construction Workers in Classical Athens

Chapter:
(p.512) 18 Entanglement, Materiality and the Social Organisation of Construction Workers in Classical Athens
Source:
Ancient Greek History and Contemporary Social Science
Author(s):

Diane Harris Cline

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474421775.003.0019

This chapter views the “Periclean Building Program” through the lens of Actor Network Theory, in order to explore the ways in which the construction of these buildings transformed Athenian society and politics in the fifth century BC. It begins by applying some Actor Network Theory concepts to the process that was involved in getting approval for the building program as described by Thucydides and Plutarch in his Life of Pericles. Actor Network Theory blends entanglement (human-material thing interdependence) with network thinking, so it allows us to reframe our views to include social networks when we think about the political debate and social tensions in Athens that arose from Pericles’s proposal to construct the Parthenon and Propylaea on the Athenian Acropolis, the Telesterion at Eleusis, the Odeon at the base of the South slope of the Acropolis, and the long wall to Peiraeus. Social Network Analysis can model the social networks, and the clusters within them, that existed in mid-fifth century Athens. By using Social Network Analysis we can then show how the construction work itself transformed a fractious city into a harmonious one through sustained, collective efforts that engaged large numbers of lower class citizens, all responding to each other’s needs in a chaine operatoire..

Keywords:   Periclean building programme, Actor-Network Theory, Classical Athens

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