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Archaeologies of the Contemporary World

Harrison, R; Breithoff, E; (2017) Archaeologies of the Contemporary World. Annual Review of Anthropology , 46 pp. 203-221. 10.1146/annurev-anthro-102116-041401. Green open access

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Abstract

Archaeologists have long been interested in contemporary material culture, but only recently has a dedicated subfield of archaeology of the contemporary world begun to emerge. Although it is concerned mainly with the archaeology of the early to mid-twentieth and twenty-first centuries, in its explicit acknowledgment of the contemporary archaeological record as multitemporal, the subfield is not defined by a focus on a specific time period so much as a particular disposition toward time, material things, the archaeological process, and its politics. This article considers how the subfield might be characterized by its approaches to particular sources and its current and emerging thematic foci. A significant point of debate concerns the role of archaeology as a discipline through which to explore ongoing, contemporary sociomaterial practices—is archaeology purely concerned with the abandoned and the ruined, or can it also provide a means by which to engage with and illuminate ongoing, contemporary, and future sociomaterial practices?

Type: Article
Title: Archaeologies of the Contemporary World
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1146/annurev-anthro-102116-041401
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev-anthro-102116-04...
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: archaeologies of the contemporary world, ethnoarchaeology, archaeological ethnography, modern material culture studies, multitemporality, future worlds
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology > Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1551554
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