Historical Archaeology

, Volume 53, Issue 1, pp 29–34 | Cite as

The Ghost in the Machine: A Response to Roller

  • LouAnn WurstEmail author


In this commentary, I reflect on the productive relations of the Simone family, the occupants of the site that Roller uses for his case study, to suggest that arguments for consumption need to be dialectically integrated with understandings of production relations. Adding production to the machinic recognizes that the very concept of the machine relates to transformations in work and labor in capitalist production, as machines increasingly replace human labor. From the perspective of productive relations, different questions emerge that should resonate with everyone in our contemporary moment: What happens when capital does not need our labor? What happens when capital does not need us to consume?


En el presente comentario, he reflexionado sobre las relaciones productivas de la familia Simone, los ocupantes del sitio que Roller utiliza para su estudio de caso, para sugerir que los argumentos en cuanto al consumo deben ser dialécticamente integrados con las concepciones de las relaciones de producción. Agregar la producción al maquínico conlleva el reconocimiento de que el concepto mismo de la máquina se relaciona con las transformaciones en el trabajo y la labor en la producción capitalista, al sustituir progresivamente el trabajo humano por las máquinas. Desde la perspectiva de las relaciones productivas, varias preguntas surgen que deberían resonar con todos en nuestro momento contemporáneo: ¿Qué sucede cuando el capital ya no necesita nuestro trabajo? ¿Qué sucede cuando el capital ya no necesita que consumamos?


Le présent commentaire porte sur les relations productives des membres de la famille Simone, les occupants du site que Roller utilise pour son étude de cas, et suggère que les arguments en faveur de la consommation doivent être intégrés par une certaine dialectique aux connaissances sur les relations de production. L’ajout de la production à la composante machinique reconnaît que le concept de la machine est associé aux transformations du travail et de la main-d’œuvre capitalistes, alors que les machines remplacent de plus en plus le travail humain. Du point de vue des relations productives, différentes questions voient le jour et chacun devrait aujourd’hui les poser : Qu’arrive-t-il lorsque le capital n’a plus besoin de main-d’œuvre? Qu’arrive-t-il lorsque le capital n’a plus besoin de nous pour consommer?


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest Statement

The corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Society for Historical Archaeology 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social SciencesMichigan Technological UniversityHoughtonU.S.A.

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