EXTENDING THE RAFTERS:
The Iroquoian Longhouse as a Sociotechnical System
John L. CREESE
A better understanding of the role of domestic dwellings in shaping past social relations is needed. Here, Northern Iroquoian longhouses are studied as sociotechnical systems, following Pfaffenberger (1992). This approach allows us to appreciate how social relations were generated and contested in the very activities of building and living in houses. I examine a sample of pre-Columbian longhouses from southern Ontario, Canada. Variation in aspects of house construction, spatial layout, and ritual indicates that sociotechnical networks associated with different houses were variable in scale, durability, and organization. What emerges is the sense that a dynamic, driving tension between forces of collectivization and atomization, inclusion and exclusion, lay at the heart of longhouse life.