Blowing in the wind: cultural heritage and management in a risk society

Authors: Darvill, T.

Editors: Koerner, S. and Russell, I.

Pages: 389-404

Publisher: Ashgate

Place of Publication: Farnham, Surrey, England

ISBN: 978-0-7546-7548-8


Archaeology has long been recognized as something much more than an academic subject concerned with piecing together the past. Certainly, the product of archaeological work is what might loosely be termed ‘knowledge’, but as I have argued elsewhere, this cover-term embraces a many different faces of knowledge which reflect the inherent complexity of the subject, the emergent novelty of new applications, and the increasing need to move away simple binary dichotomies relating to discipline boundaries such as those with history or anthropology. For some, the emergence of an independent and more rounded and distinct ‘archaeology of our world’ which conflates established binary categorical structures of thinking – for example: past and present; us and them; and people and place – poses a crisis of representation and for some at least a retreat into a ‘two-cultures’ mentality. This is played out very clearly, and ritualistically, in the identification of ‘research-focused’ and ‘development-prompted’ investigations, and in the institutionalized distinctions between ‘academic’ and ‘commercial’ sectors. Recognizing a plurality to endeavours associated with producing archaeological knowledge, and accepting an inherent diversity within the forms of knowledge produced, provide early steps along the route towards a more culturally constructed discipline with a worthwhile role in today’s world. This Chapter explores just one strand of archaeological endeavour, that known as Archaeological Resource Management (ARM), and the associated knowledge-set that can be characterized as ‘Strategic Knowledge'. After a brief review of the changing theoretical basis of ARM from the positivism of the seventies through to the instrumentalism of the naughties attention shifts briefly to the values ascribed to archaeological remains, and then to the way that proposed changes to the legislation and related government guidance for England are shaping a new era of heritage awareness. In this, it is argued, we can see new articulations to the use of heritage in a risk society in which the past in playing a stronger than ever role in shaping the future.

Source: Manual

Preferred by: Timothy Darvill