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

Author(s): Nicolas Zorzin

Year: 2015

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Summary

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.

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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)


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

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America