This chapter reflects on the main theories concerned with interpreting processes of cultural transmission (e.g., Minoanization, Mycenaeanization, and hybridity), which emphasize the role of western Anatolia as an Aegean frontier rather than a region in its own right. In order to go beyond these approaches, this contribution advocates an interpretation-neutral set of parameters that incorporate bottom-up, local perspectives and aspects of mobility to inves- tigate the manipulation and negotiation of local cultural identities. We provide two exam- ples to illustrate this approach, focused on the interaction with the Minoan and Mycenaean spheres, respectively. The first study deals with the Middle Bronze Age, when the first pal- aces were constructed on Crete and contacts with western Anatolia were more consistent than before (especially in the case of the southeastern Aegean). This case study investigates whether Minoanization is the correct way to see the processes of cultural contact between these two areas. It will be argued that the way Minoanization has been conceptualized has, in fact, influenced the interpretative frameworks through which the engagement with the Minoan material culture was explained by scholars. The second study considers the later stages of the Late Bronze Age, when patterns of exchange between the Aegean and Anatolia were relatively stable and relied on the role of big nodes in regional networks (such as Mile- tus) to facilitate the production and distribution of Aegean-style objects in western Anatolia. This case study suggests that interactions between Anatolia and the rest of the Aegean, usu- ally discussed as a result of increased Mycenaean influence and presence or described as Mycenaeanization, can be explained in terms of multiculturality and increased strength of maritime connectivity, which allowed local communities to consume Mycenaean culture in distinct, selective ways in an inherently heterogeneous cultural setting.
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