Monika Milosavljević

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Monika Milosavljević


Monika Milosavljevic obtained her PhD (2015), MA (2010) and BA (2009) from the Department of Archaeology, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade, under the supervision of Professor Aleksandar Palavestra. Her dissertation, “Concepts of Barbarism and Barbarization as Otherness in Serbian Archaeology” (2015), utilizes a self-developed methodology for the analysis of the history of ideas in archaeology according to Ludwik Fleck’s sociology of knowledge, resulting in a novel understanding of the barbaric heritage of Europe as according to the example of Serbian Archaeology. Since 2016, she holds the position of Assistant Professor of Archaeology at the Department of Archaeology, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade, where she was an Assistant Lecturer of Archaeology from 2013 to 2016. She was a guest editor for a thematic issue on archaeology of the journal Issues in Ethnology and Anthropology Vol.11, No. 3, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade.

Opening Conference

The Development and Change of Archaeological Knowledge in the Former Yugoslavia: a Fleckian Perspective

The majority of current histories on the social aspects of scientific work rely theoretically on Thomas Kuhn’s “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions” (1962). Changes in science and technology studies have since led to a rethinking of Kuhn’s approach and use of the term paradigm has become unsatisfactory. Accordingly, Ludwik Fleck’s ideas have now come to be considered better capable of observing of past and present science practices and, consequently, archaeology. The aim of the presentation is to introduce Ludwik Fleck’s conceptual toolbox to reexamine changes in Southeastern Europe’s archaeologies through the history of its development. What was once purely considered through a Kuhnian lens may now be reinterpreted through a Fleckian perspective. Fleck still remains in the shadow of Kuhn and is only now emerging from it. Fleck’s most significant epistemological papers were published in the 1930s, but became known only with the development of constructivistic programmes of philosophy and sociology of science from the 1980s. Side by side with Karl Popper, Robert Merton or Thomas Kuhn, Fleck is today regarded as a classic author in the field of the historiography of science, more applicable to the scientific traditions in non-first-world countries that underwent different experiences in their respective development. Fleck’s suitability stems from his main epistemological work, “The Genesis and Development of Scientific Fact” (1935), in which he elaborated on concepts such as thought-collectives, thought-style, proto-ideas, incommensurability. These all allow for better micro-historiographies to come to the surface, as opposed to paradigm shifts that discount minor exceptions to a presupposed rule. The introduction of a Fleckian approach should be done in the context of the contemporary science of science and specific attention paid towards Southeastern-European issues. As a case study, there was a monumental shift recorded in archaeology as a field within the former Yugoslavia. Prior to WWII, it consisted of lone individuals; following it, perceived as an emancipatory force in the service of ideology, institutions arose across the country. Despite its nondemocratic nature, considerable growth occurred in archaeology, known as the introduction of a culture-historical approach. How did such a paradigm shift affect knowledge production and how can we study the history of archaeology today? Through a Fleckian perspective, an examination of the archeology of the former Yugoslavia will allow for a broader picture on the mechanisms of scientific development in the region as a whole.

Selected publications:

  • MILOSAVLJEVIĆ, M. (2020) How Archaeological Communities Think? Re-thinking Ludwik Fleck’s Concept of the Thought-Collective According to the Case of Serbian Archaeology, In: Communities and Knowledge Production in Archaeology, eds. J. Roberts, K. Sheppard, U. Hansson, J.Trigg, pp. 14-33. Manchester: Manchester University Press
  • MILOSAVLJEVIĆ, M. 2019. Evidencija o životinjama u srednjem veku unutar kulturno-istorijske paradigme. [Evidence of Animals in the Middle Ages within the Cultural-historical Approach] Etnoantropološki problemi 14 (3), 833-859 (in Serbian).
  • BABIĆ, S., K. RAIMUND, M. MILOSAVLJEVIĆ, K. MIZOGUCHI, C. PALUDAN-MÜLLER, T. MURRAY, J. ROBB, N. SCHLANGER and A. VANZETTI. (2017) What is ‘European Archaeology’? What Should it be? European Journal of Archaeology 20 (1): 4-35.
  • MILOSAVLJEVIĆ, M. (2017) Becoming Yugoslavs: Ethnogenesis of the South Slavs as Archaeological Construction? Der Donauraum: Remembrance Culture and Common Histories in the Danube Region (ed. Florian Bieber) 1-2/ 2014, pp. 23-40. Wien: Institut für der Donauraum und Mitteleuropa.
  • MILOSAVLJEVIĆ, M. (2016) Ludwik Fleck’s concepts slicing through the Gordian Knot of Serbian Archaeology, Transversal: International Journal for the Historiography of Science 1: 88-100.
  • MILOSAVLJEVIĆ, M. and N. ĆOSIĆ (2016) Arheolog kao pisac: kritiča beleška o proizvodnji znanja [The Archaeologist as Author: A Critical Note on Knowledge Production] Književna istorija, časopis za nauku o književnosti 48 (160): 181-197 (in Serbian).