TAG Southampton session co-organised with Dr Rob Lennox accepted, so papers welcome!
In the UK, the discipline and the contexts in which archaeology is practiced are vulnerable to public policy changes and the broader impacts of economic austerity, be these contract archaeology, community projects, or within museums and archives. The role of archaeology in politics, and politics in archaeology, in the UK has been under researched and under theorised in recent years.
Politics and archaeology goes beyond grand narratives of nationhood, and extends into everyday matters, such as relatively small but vital functions of local government. Archaeologists themselves act politically in various scales, from the narrow (e.g. lobbying for technical policy changes) to broad (e.g. influencing understandings of nation, culture, identity, and place). We are actors within in a complex system where our decisions as professional archaeologists are deeply intertwined with wider political policy, yet this is not explicitly obvious to many professionals employed in the sector, or indeed by interested citizens, or our political representatives.
This session remains open to traditional areas for debate on the role of politics in archaeology, but would also like to invite papers that explore the role of archaeologists as political actors and attempt to understand how our work affects political decisions, and vice versa. It will include discussion on policy and advocacy from the narrow (e.g. who are archaeological advocates?) to the broad (e.g. what part can archaeology play in current societal debates such as over climate change, migration, Brexit?) and will attempt to provoke debate about archaeology and heritage as a tool in various political agendas (e.g. nationalism, anti-austerity/neoliberal capitalism, cosmopolitanism).