Japanese archaeology, the market economy: resistances through community archaeology?

Author(s): Nicolas Zorzin

Year: 2015


In Japan, the relationship between archaeology and the presently dominant neoliberal political economy is now giving rise to ethical issues faced primarily by archaeologists. In this presentation, I illustrate the difficulties which may have arisen from these relations, and explore other avenues of reflection within the implementation of a ‘community archaeology’. The results of my investigation are based on interviews of a sample of Japanese archaeologists and community members involved in heritage management, and were conducted in 2013 across the archipelago.

Does archaeology persist as a tool for the formation and maintenance of nationalist and capitalist narratives or does it serve to resist State/economic mechanisms of control? After forty years of neoliberal reform, Japanese archaeology seems to be surprisingly resisting conversion into a market economy. However, even though radical transformation has not occurred, some changes have still occurred in Japan through: privatisation of archaeology in hyper-urbanised areas; and internal reform of the existing state sector, mimicking the rules of efficiency and competitiveness. This situation sparked off a self-reflective period for Japanese archaeologists, and marked the renewal of a resistance within local communities reclaiming ownership of the past, and participation in its discovery and utilization in close collaboration with archaeologists.

SAA 2015 abstracts made available in tDAR courtesy of the Society for American Archaeology and Center for Digital Antiquity Collaborative Program to improve digital data in archaeology. If you are the author of this presentation you may upload your paper, poster, presentation, or associated data (up to 3 files/30MB) for free. Please visit http://www.tdar.org/SAA2015 for instructions and more information.

Cite this Record

Japanese archaeology, the market economy: resistances through community archaeology?. Nicolas Zorzin. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396056)


Spatial Coverage

min long: 66.885; min lat: -8.928 ; max long: 147.568; max lat: 54.059 ;