Main points of the article (research question, data used, problems with the data, conclusions)
The article under analysis is called The Complexities of Consumption: Eastern Pequoit Cultural Economies in Eighteen-Century New England and is written by Silliman, Steven W and Thomas A. Witt. The main purpose of the article is to consider long-term processes and criticism of colonial market economy through the analysis of cultural and consumption economies. The specific attention has been given to the Eastern Pequot Community resided in southeastern part of Connecticut. The community is an example that managed to combine data from the history of eighteenth century’s households and economic encounters during the colonial era. Specifically, the author assumes, the importance of trade relations is incredible because it introduces to the transformation of material, cultural and economic perspectives. It also gave rise to the establishment of international relations between consumers and producers. Therefore, the advent of the newcomers on the land of the Indian people has also introduced new economic structures and cultural societies. In other words, European settlers and Native Americans were engaged into market economy relations that led to the assimilation of cultures and the formation of new economic infrastructures.
The authors have resorted to the method of the qualitative overview of literature to study various periods of relations between Native Americans and New settlers. In the article, several subheadings have been introduced to discuss the topic, such as the consumption patterns, economic, colonial and environmental aspects of New England, Native American relations in the region, documentary analysis of Eastern Pequot Consumer Practices, and accounts on the historic figures, such as George Toney and James Nead.
What unique aspects of social life are revealed when archaeological research is used?
The economic aspects and the research on the indigenous communities and the role of newcomers in shaping the climate emphasize the importance of introducing in-depth archaeological interpretations of the identity of the Native Americans. As it can be seen from the investigation, the accounts about the social life focuses on the historic figures, such as the members of the Eastern Pequot community, George Toney and James Nead. Specifically, the concrete examples provided a clearer understanding how the members of the community have managed to integrate economic stability into the social life, as well as promote new economic principles of social development. The individuals, therefore, provided helpful guidelines for Eastern Pequot economic activities, but these documents are restricted in terms of gender because little information is delivered about women.
How do the results exemplify the workings of identity, agency, structural power, and/or resistance?
The archaeological analysis reveals the author’s preference of analyzing the role of male figures in shaping the economic development of the Pequot Community. Specifically, the authors have managed to outline seasonal patterns, activities, livelihoods, and credit records of individuals through the reader could understand the major processes and concept that controlled the economic development in the eighteenth century. Despite the narrow-focused analysis of two individuals regarding to the economic development of the entire community, the delivery and evaluation of the historical documents have demonstrated the fact that reservation was strongly controlled by Eastern Pequot women. It has also been assumed that both women and men contributed to the social and cultural advancement. The accounts do not introduce economic activities in particular; instead, the attention is made to the exchange of goods because it is more typical of the anthropological analysis. The structural power is also properly described by the authors via identification of roles and responsibilities imposed on men and women in the community.
- Silliman, Steven W and Thomas A. Witt. The Complexities of Consumption: Eastern Pequot Cultural Economies in Eighteen-Century New England. Historical Archaeology, 44, no. 4 (2010): 46-68.