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Keywords:

  • specialization;
  • value;
  • practice;
  • ontology;
  • production

The contributions to this volume are introduced via a critical review of terms and concepts used in craft production studies today. Recent detailed contextual and technological analyses of artifacts from all aspects of complex societies have revealed interesting patterns that are difficult to conceptualize using a purely economic framework. Furthermore, interest in practice theory, and sociocultural theory in general, has shifted some foci of archaeological investigation toward the social aspects of production and specialization. New data, methods, and theories require a rethinking of what is meant by specialized production, and this chapter represents an introduction to this endeavor.