Homelands in the Present and in the Past: Political Implications of a Dangerous Concept
Type of publication: Research Article
archaeology, ancestral home, nationalism, ethnic conflicts, science ethics
The article critically examines the ways in which archaeologists use and abuse the problematic romantic concept of ancestral home, especially when it is understood as an area of habitation of ancient ancestors, i.e. a territory which is conjecturally defined on the basis of rather ambiguous archaeological data and questionable linguistic reconstructions. The area of ancestral habitation is typically described in maximalist terms and is endowed with the maximal geographical scope, thus frequently infringing on presumed territories of other like ancestral homes claimed by neighbor peoples. Insofar as the rationale behind ancestral homes of the kind is usually generating or extending the territorial integrity of a group, they often result in tensions between peoples, which well may lead to violence and ethnic conflicts. The author poses a question of ethical responsibility of archaeologists working in areas that different people consider their ancestral homes.
Kohl, P. 2013. Homelands in the Present and in the Past: Political Implications of a Dangerous Concept. Etnograficheskoe obozrenie 1: 26-36
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