Abstract and Keywords
Issues of identity have never been far away from archaeology. Ethnic and racial categories, sex and gender (conflated early on), age, status, and other axes of differentiation have been core concepts underpinning archaeological interpretation since the days of early antiquarianism. Recent approaches emphasize identity as multi-scalar, multidimensional, situational, and overlapping, constructed and negotiated by individuals in specific social contexts. Theoretical approaches revolve around structure/agency debates, with a practice approach providing an effective tool to examine identity in the past. Studies of various dimensions of identity have moved beyond the essentialist models that characterized older research, particularly with ethnicity and race. Gender research embraces not only feminist but also masculinist and queer approaches. Areas of identity taken for granted, including age, sexuality, and religion, have now become a locus of archaeological investigation. The post-processual and postcolonial calls for a return to essentialism to empower subaltern groups have met with some success but also created ethical dilemmas.
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