Possessing the Past: The use and abuse of archaeology in building nation-states
2013-05-30 0:00

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

School Textbook: “There’s No Such Thing as Reverse Racism” Only White People can be Racist
2015-03-03 2:14
Only white people can be racist. A school textbook teaches students that “there is no such thing as reverse racism” and that women can never be as sexist as men. The passage, which appears to be taken from a “multicultural education series” book entitled Is Everyone Equal, states, “STOP: There is no such thing as reverse racism or reverse sexism (or the ...
Americans to Receive Full Biometric Treatment for all Forms of European Travel
2015-03-02 23:39
Travel becomes truly ominous... In a trend that isn't wholly surprising, EU Observer reports: US citizens and other non-EU nationals who enter Europe will be asked to have their faces image-captured and fingerprints scanned upon arrival at a half-dozen major airports. [emphasis added] This "biometric dragnet" is the pilot test for the EU's new "smart borders" packages. The test ...
Breaking: Google gives new meaning to “Orwellian”
2015-03-02 18:14
Becomes Ministry of Truth “…if all records told the same tale — then the lie passed into history and became truth.” (1984, George Orwell) The New Scientist has the stunning story (2/28/15, “Google wants to rank websites based on facts not links,” by Hal Hodson): “THE internet is stuffed with garbage. Anti-vaccination websites make the front page of Google, and fact-free ‘news’ stories ...
Boris Nemtsov, Putin Foe, Is Shot Dead in Shadow of Kremlin - A Staged Shooting?
2015-02-28 22:37
NY Times: Boris Nemtsov, Putin Foe, Is Shot Dead in Shadow of Kremlin Mr. Nemtsov, a former first deputy prime minister of Russia, was killed in central Moscow in the highest-profile assassination in Russia during the tenure of President Vladimir V. Putin. A Staged Shooting? ... Why does the dead body of fitness enthusiast Boris Nemtsov have a pot belly? The Anti-New York Times doesn't ...
Spielberg's Hoax - The Last Days of The Big Lie
2015-02-28 20:18
Editor's Note: This is an absolutely SHOCKING video. How this has gone largely unchallenged for such a long time, is a remarkable testimony to the trustworthiness of gullible but good-hearted people. Watch it all the way to the end and learn something new about the remarkable lies and falsehood in our world. If the video is blocked in your country, see ...
More News »