Download e-book for iPad: Archaeological approaches to cultural identity by S. J. Shennan

By S. J. Shennan

Examines the severe implications of cultural id from various views. Questions the character and boundaries of archaeological wisdom of the previous and the connection of fabric tradition to cultural identity.

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141) points out: ‘Germany’ was not aided by its ragged geography, nor really by its Holy Roman imperial polity, since here, too, the boundaries fluctuated and political memories were vague. Hence the increasing recourse to ethnic, especially linguistic, criteria, crossed, however, with historical memories of former statehoods in the area. However, the idea of the importance of such criteria for German identity goes back earlier than this. Hegelian concepts of history no doubt played a rôle (cf.

Of course, the result of this is the generation of areas of cultural uniformity with respect to the various phenomena in question, where people tend to do things in the same way. It follows from this that specific populations will tend to be far more homogeneous culturally than genetically. This kind of imitation may operate at various levels of consciousness, and at the conscious level may be accompanied by another phenomenon, which Boyd & Richerson (1985) called ‘indirect bias’: this is a tendency to imitate those who appear particularly successful in their society, not just in the specific aspects that are relevant to their success, but also in other aspects of their behaviour and appearance.

Gellner (1983) takes the view that entities of the ethnic group type are essentially characteristic of the onset of industrialism and its impact—before that they did not exist. In the preceding agrarian civilizations it was class identity that mattered, with a clear distinction between an élite stratum and a peasantry, the former typified by widespread élite styles and the latter by the prevalence of village communities which were largely insulated from one another and which were differentiated only in the sense of the existence of a certain amount of spatial variation between them.

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