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date: 17 June 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Modernity is usually considered a creative and productive force. However, modern dreams have also generated destruction and ruins and often failed with disastrous results, especially during the last hundred years. An archaeology of high modernism, then, has to look at the material effects of failed modernist fantasies and utopian projects. In this chapter, representative cases of modern failures are examined, with a particular focus on materiality and ruination, and some areas for future research will be proposed, such as the study of material tactics of resistance. Usually, modernist fantasies are linked to totalitarian ideologies (fascism, communism). Along with the ruins of fascism and communism, other failed utopias are taken into consideration here, which have been seldom studied by archaeologists; this is the case with the political fantasies of liberal western regimes and of postcolonial countries.

Keywords: utopianism, high modernism, totalitarianism, ruins, resistance

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