Possessing the Past: The use and abuse of archaeology in building nation-states
2013 05 30

By Dr Peter Buxton | HeritageDaily

Historical artefacts can be used as a powerful tool to reinforce group identity and forge a nation-state, but their use can have adverse consequences such as the oppression of minorities.

A diagram is used to summarise the complex identity relationships between states and nations. The power of historical artefacts derives from the duality of their nature; they are both a concrete proof of an historical fact and the basis for an abstract construction of meaning. Three case studies are used to provide examples of the use and abuse of archaeology.


The Ratification of the Treaty of Munster, Gerard Ter Borch (1648) : Wiki Commons, part of the Peace of Westphalia, which ended the war between France, Sweden and the Holy Roman Empire

From the earliest pre-historic times to the present day man has formed groups which transcend family as a way of organising and regulating society. These groupings, whether Iron Age tribes, Athenian city states or modern nations, have been bound together by many factors such as territory, language and culture. Since the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia the nation state has become the main entity through which international relations are organised; even with the development of supra-national bodies, and the changes wrought by globalisation, the nation state has remained pre-eminent.

The decline of the nation-state as the foremost way in which international relations are conceived has been much debated but, like Mark Twain, rumours of its death appear to have been exaggerated. Whether it is in Scotland or the Balkans, national groups, using the rhetoric of nationalism, seek independent nation status as the pinnacle of self determination; alternatives, such as greater autonomy within the existing state, are seen as a lesser status.

The terms ‘nation’, ‘state’, and ‘nation-state’ are often regarded as synonyms; this is incorrect and, whilst recognising their limitations and contested nature, for the purposes of this paper the definitions proposed by Smith will be used. A ‘state’ is a public institution exercising a monopoly of coercion and extraction within a given territory; a ‘nation’ is a cultural and political bond uniting a single political community. A ‘nation-state’ exists where there is complete congruence between the territory of the ‘state’ and that of the ‘nation’.

Using case studies of National Socialist Germany, Israel, and Bosnia, which show different aspects of how archaeology is used, this paper will explore the importance of associating individual identity with a nation.

[...]

Read the full article at: heritagedaily.com



Related Articles
Controlling People By Controlling History
African Coins Found in Australia Thought to Be 1,000 Years Old: May Rewrite History
History of Geology - Down the Rabbit Hole
From Hiroshima To Gaza: The Demon of History And The Divinity of "The Others"


Latest News from our Front Page

James Foley Beheading: What They’re Not Telling You
2014 08 27
The latest poster child for military expansion in the middle east poses a host of disturbing questions. --- Experts: James Foley Beheading Video Likely Fake By Paul Joseph Watson| Infowars Forensic analysis confirms Infowars investigation that footage was staged as war propaganda Confirming Infowars’ analysis on Thursday, British forensic experts have concluded that the ISIS beheading video involving James Foley was in all likelihood ...
US forces move into Syria as Barack Obama paves way for airstrikes on ISIS
2014 08 27
US forces move into Syria: Obama paves way for airstrikes on ISIS after sending in spy planes - despite Assad warning that any attack will be seen as ’aggression’ Barack Obama has paved the way for airstrikes against ISIS targets in Syria after spy planes started operating in the country on his command, according to U.S officials. While the White ...
Stop creating a climate of fear!
2014 08 27
ok. listen up political correct people! if you’re someone who reflexively calls others “racists” or “neofascists” without first checking into whether or not they actually are, you need to STOP it, because you’re creating a climate of fear in which people are afraid to do their jobs. and now i’m not talking about some academics sitting comfortably in their ivy towers, ...
Gov. Jerry Brown to Mexican Illegals: ’You’re All Welcome in California’
2014 08 27
On Monday evening, California Governor Jerry Brown said all Mexicans, including illegal immigrants, are welcome in California. According to the Los Angeles Times, while introducing Mexican President Enrique Peńa Nieto, who said America is "the other Mexico," Brown "spoke about the interwoven histories of Mexico and California." He "nodded to the immigrants in the room, saying it didn’t matter if ...
Election Posters in New Sweden
2014 08 27
Swedish prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt has promised continued mass immigration at the expense of welfare reform and tax cuts. Reinfeldt’s Moderates party consequently does everything in their power to recruit immigrants’ votes. Placards for the forthcoming elections, widely distributed in immigrant-dominated enclaves in Sweden, has Arabic text, the language that now increasingly is dominating major parts of "New Sweden." In the ...
More News »