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The editors and individuals to this quantity concentrate on the inherent political nature of archaeology and its effect at the perform of the self-discipline. Pointing to the discipline’s background of advancing imperialist, colonialist, and racist goals, they insist that archaeology needs to reconsider its muted expert stance and develop into extra openly lively brokers of swap. The self-discipline isn't really approximately an summary “archaeological list” yet approximately residing contributors and groups, whose lives and background be afflicted by the abuse of strength relationships with states and their brokers. simply by way of spotting this energy disparity, and adopting a political ethic for the self-discipline, can archaeology justify its actions. Chapters variety 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 immediate problem to the self-discipline, this quantity will galvanize dialogue, confrontation, and notion for plenty of within the box.
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Additional resources for Archaeology and Capitalism: From Ethics to Politics (One World Archaeology)
It is a collective project and should be in constant contact and communication with the movements and groups with which it shares ideas, values, and causes. The essays that follow in this volume are a significant contribution towards the achievement of that goal. I would like to end with a brief account of some of the many directions that the approach of the political ethic could take. An explicitly political archaeology should address the genealogy of official archaeology as a 34 Chapter 1 device of western capitalist modernity, and interrogate the conservation (and exhibition) ethic and the power dynamics that gave birth and continue to sustain this device.
Problems emerge, however, when these latter ‘morality-based’ reasons are examined in the context of contemporary anthropological theorizing about culture and cultural rights. For one, the notion of ‘retaining’ or ‘returning’ culture assumes that culture can both be partitioned and alienated in the first place (Weiner 1992; Welsh 1997). It ignores the point widely recognized in anthropology that cultural meanings shift among contexts and that prioritizing some sort of ‘original’ cultural meaning over all others may be simplistic and reductionist.
Archaeologies, both the official one and the alternative ones, deal with the present, not the past; but this is a multi-temporal present, not one that is sharply separated from the past; they also deal not only with the living people who are engaging with these traces today, but also with the material traces of dead people, that is, a projection of their existence into the present. This thesis has two important implications: firstly, that contemporary people who are engaging with these traces today may have views on their treatment which must be respected, as indigenous archaeologies have been saying for years; and secondly and more importantly, archaeologists, much like anthropologists, engage with living animate and inanimate entities, not dead communities, people and things.
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