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date: 01 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This book is about archaeologies both in and of the present. Its aim is to identify the challenges and pitfalls of an archaeology of the contemporary world, but not to be an authorized manual. Archaeology has become a case limit for interdisciplinarity, as it is the one discipline that is so freely and exuberantly adopted, complicated, and transformed by other disciplines. In that they all study contemporary material culture, it is clear that other disciplines also do ‘archaeology’ in one way or another. The study of the present opens up issues of ownership not normally addressed by archaeologists. If it is an archaeology of us, who is the ‘us’ that we are concerned with? The archaeology of the contemporary is thus inevitably drawn into politics in terms of the extent to which work in the field constitutes or necessitates advocacy. Archaeologies of the contemporary extend our understanding of the mobility of matter, a mobility that suggests the operation of matter as media, and evokes the materiality of media. Here, the ephemeral event becomes a productive site for extending our understandings of matter, media, and mobility. Methodologically, archaeologies of the contemporary must overcome the banalization of everyday experience, studying people, places, and things in action. As such, archaeologists must see themselves as participants, and shape their participation to contemporary circumstances.

Keywords: disciplinarity, ownership, politics, the contemporary ‘past’, matter, media, mobilities, methodology

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