F4


Modernising archaeological tourism: from image conflict to archaeological expressionism 
Convenors:
Ian Russell (Trinity College, Dublin)
Andrew Cochrane
Discussant:
Victor Buchli (University College London)
Stream:
Series F: Material culture
Location:
TM144
Start time:
12 April, 2007 at 16:30 (UTC+0)
Session slots:
1

Short Abstract:

This session explores the conflation of materialities and mentalities in contemporary archaeology and its representation in tourism. We suggest that heritage has more to offer than simply reifying social orders, explicating evolutionary processes or apologising for modern logic systems.

Long Abstract

This session explores the conflation of materialities and mentalities which has become commonplace in contemporary archaeological and tourism discourses. Since the philosophical and popular acceptance of Descartes' dichotomy of mind and body, material objects have functioned as passive representations for the veracity of ideological concepts and mentalities. Through (re)created auras of revealed strata of human occupation, materialities are correlated to essentialist, positivist systems of social development - a system of which contemporary society is assumed to be the logical inheritor. Based on an acceptance of various dichotomies, archaeology has grown as a rational science which manifests evidential materiality, explicating modern Western temporal, evolutionary and geographical logic systems. The papers in this session will move on from the working hypothesis that the logical representation of materiality as evidence of mentality is fundamental to the project of archaeology. Instead, we suggest that archaeological materialities may function as representational 'apologies' for modern mentalities.

The debates of the session will centre on an exploration of recent theories on the politics of verticality, cosmopolitanism, image conflict and spectatorship through specific case studies. We suggest that archaeology and heritage has more to offer than simply reifying social orders, explicating evolutionary processes or apologising for modern logic systems. We wish to move archaeology away from apologising for the conflict of images in modern Western society and towards a dynamic expressionism of human understanding of being, logic, materiality and temporality.

Accepted papers:

Author:

Stephanie Koerner (Liverpool University )

Paper short abstract:

This contribution engages 'new cosmopolitan' approaches in anthropology to the 'global political economy of tourism' and explores the contextual circumstances of the social sciences and humanities claim to 'tourism' as an area of specialisation in relationship to the thought of Immanuel Kant (1795).

Paper long abstract:

This contribution (1) outlines a framework for understanding some of the reasons for growing interest in 'new cosmopolitan' approaches in anthropology to the 'global political economy of tourism', and (2) considers the implications for several aims of the session of comparing the contextual circumstances of Kant's (1795) arguments for anthropological approaches to 'publicity', 'public grounds of truth' and 'perpetuating peace', with those under which social sciences and humanities have come to include 'tourism' (and the 'global tourism political economy' among their key areas of specialisation. I will conclude with suggestions about how some of the most controversial aspects of anthropological research and teaching on tourism relate to images of "living your own life in a runaway world' or "age of risk" (Beck 1995, 2001, 2004) and problems with arguments that the most promising proposals of solutions to conflict over 'global justice, human rights and governmentality' lie in 'new cosmopolitan' notions of 'alternative realities' (Latour 2004; Koerner 2006; (ASA 2006 Conference Programme: 6).

Author:

Marcus Brittain (Cambridge Archaeological Unit)

Paper short abstract:

My discussion here is concerned with the strain archaeology experiences in the task for the recognition of difference in face of the 'public' expectation of unified accounts of the past.

Paper long abstract:

My discussion here is concerned with the strain archaeology experiences in the task for the recognition of difference in face of the 'public' expectation of unified accounts of the past. The focus for this discussion is centred on emerging debates arising within archaeology from issues regarding its relation with the media. Previously focused on matters of misrepresentation, the necessity for crisis-management in archaeology initiated action in local conflicts to secure claims of legitimacy as the knowledgeable custodians of the past. Risk-assessment within these mitigation strategies presupposed homogenised sovereign value-criteria against which judgements of appropriate action could be agreed upon by management decision-makers. However, the mediatization of the intellectual economy, and the development of increasingly accessible instant communication technologies has formed a new context for questions of accountability, whilst setting new constraints and possibilities for cultural tourism. The boundaries neatly delineating internal conflicts of images from external ('alternative') claims to knowledge have a mobility that fits uncomfortably with the traditional security of sovereign value systems. The issues entwining media, crisis and legitimacy are illustrated in an ongoing conflict of images at a wetland archaeology heritage centre in the Cambridgeshire fenlands. Here contrasting matters of science, climate change, land-use, heritage conservation and sustainable biodiversity, have their expression in varying media forms through local residents, local and national government policy, regional industry, heritage authorities and activist groups. The difficulties of peaceful resolution will be placed into question.

Author:

Caroline Lamprey (Manchester University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores anthropology of personhood perspectives on modern archaeological tourism in the shaping of global political-economies of 'risk assessment and management' relating to local communities involvement in planning means to sustain regional biodiversity and tourist economy development.

Paper long abstract:

This paper builds upon my research on the anthropological perspectives on personhood and key themes in current interdisciplinary literature on 'science, citizenship and globalisation' (for instance Leach, Scoones and Wynne eds. 2005). Emphasis in this research has centred on questions about how such perspectives can help with efforts to democratize citizen involvement in "critical scientific debates and decisions that affect their future lives, be they in specific policy issues about genetics, HIV/AIDS, occupational health, biotechnology or GM foods to broader processes of assessing the risks of new technologies" Gaventa 2005). My presentation has three parts. The first concerns the bearing of anthropological approaches to personhood upon several problems stressed in the session abstract, including consequences for archaeological and tourism discourses of prevailing dichotomies of agency-structure, mentalities-materiality, expert competence - public perceptions, global - multi-cultural. The second concerns connections between themes of 'tourism policy and planning' and roles assigned to the social sciences and humanities and institutions and agencies, which are shaping global political-economies of 'risk assessment and management'. The third and main part of my paper illustrates several advantages of anthropology of personhood perspectives on these problems and connections with case studies of local communities' involvement in planning means to sustain regional biodiversity and tourist economy development.

Author:

Timothy Neal (University of Sheffield)

Paper short abstract:

This paper suggests that the duality of mentality/materiality can dissolve through archaeological/heritage tourism. However the normative impulse that informs the latter pair cannot be maintained where this non-dualist perspective is to flourish.

Paper long abstract:

This paper suggests that the duality of mentality/materiality can dissolve through archaeological/heritage tourism. However the normative impulse that informs the latter pair cannot be maintained where this non-dualist perspective is to flourish.

In the context of tourism, heritage and archaeology can be understood as performances and face problems of veracity, of an inability to perform or be a spectator of the past without drawing (on) the present. The challenge for heritage providers becomes one of encouraging speculation, of drawing forth imagination. This implies an active spectatorship that moves beyond consumption of what is provided by the heritage industry. From a material culture perspective, individuals can be understood as inventing their own heritage, understanding of which can be approached through the objects they accumulate, through materiality. Thus material culture becomes the subject and mentality of the object of attention. Yet materialities are both the origin and the outcome of mentalities and vice-versa. Archaeology cannot provide origins for one or the other but the archaeological project becomes a moment of placement, a condensation of a fluid form except when, as the panel abstract suggests, it engages openly in a dynamic expressionism, by which I understand the manipulation of both materiality and mentality to produce meaning that is not limited by the necessity of mapping the one on the other.