By Yannis Hamilakis, Philip Duke
The editors and individuals to this quantity specialize in the inherent political nature of archaeology and its influence at the perform of the self-discipline. Pointing to the discipline’s heritage of advancing imperialist, colonialist, and racist pursuits, they insist that archaeology needs to reconsider its muted expert stance and turn into extra brazenly lively brokers of switch. The self-discipline isn't approximately an summary “archaeological checklist” yet approximately dwelling participants and groups, whose lives and background be afflicted by the abuse of strength relationships with states and their brokers. purely by means of spotting this energy disparity, and adopting a political ethic for the self-discipline, can archaeology justify its actions. Chapters diversity from a critique of conventional moral codes, to examinations of the capitalist motivations and constructions in the self-discipline, to demands an engaged, emancipatory archaeology that improves the lives of the folk with whom archaeologists paintings. an instantaneous problem to the self-discipline, this quantity will impress dialogue, confrontation, and suggestion for plenty of within the box.
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Extra info for Archaeology and Capitalism: From Ethics to Politics (One World Archaeology)
Many cultural property policies – either to reclaim specific objects or to enact and enforce national ‘patrimony’ laws prohibiting export – are undertaken by nations seeking to retain their cultural heritage (Merryman 1988). While important reasons exist for respecting such efforts, it is equally important to identify and understand the unanticipated and perhaps less beneficial ramifications, such as promoting nationalist perspectives and inhibiting the development of alternative discourses (the complexities of this conundrum are nicely illustrated in McIntosh et al 1996 ).
The case of prioritising ‘rescue’ archaeological projects ahead of major ‘development’ plans is a vivid example of this (cf Ronayne, this volume). Western official archaeology relies on a linear temporality that assumes a radical break between past and present. It also relies on a sharp separation between humans and inanimate things. At the level of archaeological and social thinking, these notions are of course put into doubt by developments such as the anthropology of agency (eg, Gell 1998) and theories of materiality (eg, Brown 2001) which have shown the agency-like properties of objects and things, the archaeology of contemporary life (eg, Buchli and Lucas 2001) and the field of material culture studies, as well as the archaeology of memory that looks at the ‘past in the past’ – in other words, the reworking of and constant engagement with past material forms (eg, Van Dyke and Alcock 2003).
6 Where state interests are representing national sentiment as a whole, it may be difficult to criticize such action. But at best, repatriation should be aimed at opening the space for debating political asymmetries and injustices, both in the past and present. WHAT’S AN ARCHAEOLOGIST TO DO? Obviously we do not suggest that repatriation is never warranted or that there are not important grounds for supporting export controls.