Archaeology in the Era of Capitalism
Issue: Vol 2 No. 2 (2015)
Journal: Journal of Contemporary Archaeology
Subject Areas: Archaeology
While attempting to resolve the query at hand, this essay aims at directing the attention of the conversation to the macro-economic power plays and interactions which permeate modern and contemporary archaeological practice. First pointing out the effects market fluctuation has had on the activity’s intervenients, it then focuses on exposing how a politicized global financial crisis has brought about the precarization of an entire professional class, and the massification of a new type of practitioner, the occasional freelance archaeologist. Subjected to the instability of a system (the current economic paradigm), which it has long been made to enter a partnership with, archaeology seems to be unable to avoid its own asphyxiation and the one of its agents, in times of financial distress. This text records a very challenging time to the practice of archaeology, one in which its once profitable marriage to the capitalist economic logic now endangers the very democratization of the discipline, risking its substitution by a neo-elitization of sorts, if urgent measures to ensure the opposite are not taken. The focus is on what could be considered one of the main root causes behind the present question. It becomes inevitable to conclude that engaging on potentially segregational peer discourse is pointless and dangerous.
Author: Selma Faria
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