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Archaeology, Society and Identity in Modern Japan

This bold and illuminating study examines the role of archaeology in the formation of the
modern Japanese nation and explores the processes by which archaeological practice is shaped
by national social and intellectual discourse. Leading Japanese archaeologist Koji Mizoguchi
argues that an understanding of the past is a central component in the creation of national iden-
tities and modern nation-states and that, since its emergence as a distinct academic discipline
in the modern era, archaeology has played an important role in shaping that understand-
ing. By examining in parallel the uniquely intense process of modernisation experienced by
Japan and the history of Japanese archaeology, Mizoguchi explores the close interrelationship
between archaeology, society and modernity, helping to explain why we do archaeology in the
way that we do. This book is essential reading for anybody with an interest in the history and
theory of archaeology or modern Japan.

Ko j i M i zo g u c h i is Associate Professor of Archaeology in the Graduate School of Social
and Cultural Studies, Kyushu University, Japan. He is the author of An Archaeological History
of Japan, 30,000 BC to AD 700 (2002).

Cambridge Studies in Archaeology aims to showcase the very best in contemporary archaeo-
logical scholarship. Re¬‚ecting the wide diversity and vigour of archaeology as an intellectual
discipline, the series covers all regions of the world and embraces all major theoretical and
methodological approaches. Designed to be empirically grounded and theoretically aware,
and including both single-authored and collaborative volumes, the series is arranged around
four highlighted strands:
r Prehistory
r Classical Archaeology
r Medieval Archaeology
r Historical Archaeology

For a list of titles in this series please see the end of the book.

Archaeology, Society and
Identity in Moder n Japan
cambridge university press
Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, Madrid, Cape Town, Singapore, São Paulo

Cambridge University Press
The Edinburgh Building, Cambridge cb2 2ru, UK
Published in the United States of America by Cambridge University Press, New York
Information on this title: www.cambridge.org/9780521849531

© Koji Mizoguchi 2006

This publication is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception and to the provision of
relevant collective licensing agreements, no reproduction of any part may take place
without the written permission of Cambridge University Press.

First published in print format 2006

isbn-13 978-0-511-19099-5 eBook (EBL)
isbn-10 0-511-19099-9 eBook (EBL)

isbn-13 978-0-521-84953-1 hardback
isbn-10 0-521-84953-5 hardback

Cambridge University Press has no responsibility for the persistence or accuracy of urls
for external or third-party internet websites referred to in this publication, and does not
guarantee that any content on such websites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate.
To Hiromi

List of ¬gures page ix
List of tables xi
Preface xiii

1 Archaeology in the contemporary world 1

2 Modernity and archaeology 19

3 Communication, sociality, and the positionality of archaeology 35

4 Nation-state, circularity and paradox 55

5 Fragmentation, multiculturalism, and beyond 121

6 Conclusion: demands for problematising and explaining one™s position
all the time 165

References 170
Index 179


1.1 The Yoshinogari Historical Park page 2
1.2 Yoshinogari site under rescue excavation 4
1.3 The formation process of the Yoshinogari phase by phase 5
2.1 Circularity and paradox of the nation-state and the solution
(masking and de-paradoxisation) 24
3.1 Communication and sociality 38
3.2 An individual psychic system and its environment: the reduction of
complexity 39
3.3 Communication as distinction/choice/selection: information,
utterance and understanding 40
3.4 Communication as a closed, self-referentially reproduced system 42
3.5 The continuation of communication and the reproduction of a
system“environment boundary 43
3.6 Communication, sociality and ˜semantics™ 45
3.7 Symbolic communication media and the ˜transcendental™ 49
3.8 The nation-state, the citizen and the transcendental 51
4.1 The ˜mausoleum™ of Emperor Ojin 59
4.2 From the ˜coexistence and assimilation of cultures™ image to
chronological charts 69
4.3 The Yayoi and Kofun periods as the decisive phase in the process
toward the establishment of a class-difference-based strati¬cation,
i.e., an ancient state: a model 74
4.4 The development of Dohoko bronze spearheads 76
4.5 The Cold War equilibrium and the discursive space of archaeology 80
4.6 Two versions of a textbook drawing 87
4.7 Middle and Late Yayoi mortuary compounds 89
4.8 The site of Sendoyama 92
4.9 Two hierarchically positioned levels of patriarchy depicted in the
textbook drawing 95
4.10 Mysterious elimination of a ¬gure from a textbook drawing 101
4.11 The compound burial groups of the Late Yayoi period in western
Japan 109
4.12 Types of keyhole-shaped tumuli in the beginning of the Kofun
period 113

List of ¬gures x

5.1 Popularity and economic bene¬ts of the reconstructed sites: the
Yoshinogari 155
5.2 Archaeological communication system and its
˜late-/high-/post-modern™ environment 158

4.1 The ˜safe™ and ˜dangerous™ domains in Japanese pre-Second World
War archaeology page 65


This volume is as much about applied social theory as about archaeology, because
its ultimate objective is to consider the nature and character of the particular ¬eld of
social practice/communication that is called archaeology by investigating how it has
been and is situated in society as a whole.
To be more concrete, the volume attempts to critically portray the constitutive
elements and characteristics of contemporary archaeological practice and the prob-
lems which they generate. The contention to be put forward is that they derive from
a speci¬c form of generating and maintaining sociality and social institutions, called
modernity, which is fundamentally different from its predecessors, i.e., pre-modern
social formations. The difference between modernity and pre-modern social for-
mations is multi-faceted, and hence demands a multi-faceted approach. However,
according to the late German sociologist Niklas Luhmann, it can be tackled most
effectively by investigating the intrinsic nature of human communication and the dif-
ference between the way in which human communication is made possible in moder-
nity compared with pre-modern social formations. The way in which human commu-
nication is made possible has evolved through the history of the human being as the
size of the basic unit of social integration and its complexity has increased, but it was
not until the coming of modernity that the human being entered the stage in which
every communication was bound to be critically and re¬‚exively commented upon by
other communications and effectively relativised; before that moment, communica-
tions could be determined/¬xed in their values/meanings by referring to something
outside the realm of human communication, such as the divine and god-given order
(of social hierarchy, for instance). This change has had far-reaching effects upon
the existential base of the human being and human relations. This change, as this
volume will illustrate, was connected to the emergence of the nation-state, which still
functions as the basic institutional, cognitive and physical framework and which, to
a signi¬cant extent, determines our life-course today.
The change transformed the way we identify ourselves and the way we connect
ourselves to the world. This change, after all, resulted in the emergence and disci-
plinisation of most modern scienti¬c disciplines, including archaeology, which began
examining both the world and the way human beings related themselves to, and made
sense of, the world. That means that the project to be undertaken in this volume
cannot con¬ne itself within the disciplinary boundaries of archaeology. Rather, the
author will draw heavily upon the fruit of sociological investigations into the char-
acteristics and consequences of modernity. Sociology, in a way, is the epitome of

Preface xiv

modernity; it attempts not only to make sense of the contemporary world but also
to comprehend how we make sense of the contemporary world. In other words,
sociology is the epitome of re¬‚exivity; sociology not only comments upon the con-
temporary world but also comments upon the way in which the commentary upon
the contemporary world is made. By sociologising archaeology, the author hopes
not only to problematise and relativise the taken-for-granteds in doing archaeology
in modernity but also to contribute to the general social-theoretical endeavour to
better capture the realities of social life, i.e., the ways in which we cope with socially
generated dif¬culties in the contemporary world. In this sense, the volume is writ-
ten for social scientists in general as much as for archaeologists and those who are
interested in the way archaeology is situated in contemporary society.
It is widely felt nowadays that modernity is experiencing a fundamental transfor-
mation. For some, modernity has already come to an end and we are now living in
post-modernity. Either way, effects of the transformation of modernity have become
strongly felt in archaeology, and the atmosphere can be captured by some buzz words
in the literature: ¬‚uidity, fragmentation, globalisation, multivocality, identity, and so
on. Each of them can be connected to the sense of crisis and new opportunity in a
distinct manner; they evoke a sense of indeterminacy, which contradicts the essence
of the conventional de¬nition of science as the pursuit of Truth, but they also raise
hope for the beginning of new types of science more relevant to what is going on
in the contemporary world. The ambivalence and confusion are also acutely felt in
archaeology, and they are felt the world over, as ˜globalisation™, a signi¬cant con-
sequence of the maturation of modernity, is taking its hold. At the same time, the
sense of indeterminacy, the very source of the ambivalence and confusion, should
also be taken as a source of hope for archaeology; it is this investigation into how to
cope with it that will push the discipline forward.
I have been talking so far about the scope of the volume. Now let me touch
upon its objectives. This volume is not an attempt to solve once and for all the
above-mentioned problems. Rather, it suggests a way to cope with the dif¬culties
by avoiding some of the predictable dangers that the problems lead to. Many of
these dangers have already become quite visible and apparent to careful eyes, but
their harmful implications have not been fully contextualised and appreciated, in
archaeology in particular. A contention to be put forward will be that we have to live
with the dangers and problems; ¬rst of all, the dangers are the consequences of the
maturation of modernity which we cannot possibly discard altogether, and secondly,
we need to be able to anchor and ¬x our identities in the past in various ways, in this
world of indeterminacy and ¬‚uidity, but relying upon the past inevitably comes with
some risk, that leads to the drawing and deepening of various sorts of social divisions.
The task of archaeologists is to carry on communicating about those dangers which
derive from the use of the past at the same time as continuing to produce images of
the past; we cannot stop doing archaeology altogether, even if doing it implies innate
dangers deriving from its unique relationship to modernity.
The investigation and argumentation of this volume will be undertaken by study-
ing what has been and is going on in Japan and Japanese archaeology. Japan is
Preface xv

the only country that has managed to ˜modernise™ and ˜industrialise™ itself without
experiencing colonisation, and that has made the Japanese experience, particularly
concerning archaeology, unique the world over. The investigation and argumenta-
tion will go back and forth in a cyclic manner between the intrinsic nature of (a)
communication, (b) modernity, (c) archaeological communication/discourse, and
(d) the unique ways in which communication is reproduced that are connected to
the constitutive characteristics of modernity. Each chapter will tackle this ˜quad-
rangle™ and the problems generated from this tight and fundamental network from a
different perspective. In that sense, each chapter can be read as an independent piece.
However, the volume follows the following logical ¬‚ow. Chapters 1 through 3 are
designed to sketch the phenomena to be tackled, outlining the theoretical framework
and the procedure of investigation and argumentation. Chapter 4 covers the phase
from the modernisation of Japan to the 1970s when the transformation of modernity
became tangible, and Chapter 5 covers the period spanning from the 1970s to the
present, during which the phenomena variously described as late-, high-, or post-
modern have become widespread and the problems and possibilities deriving from
them have emerged and become widely felt. Chapter 6 will summarise and conclude
the volume.
In all, I should like to reiterate, the volume is designed to portray and elucidate
the core nature of the dif¬culties anyone interested in and working on contemporary
social issues related to the formation and maintenance of social boundaries of various
sorts is faced with, and in that sense it should be read not only by archaeologists and
those who are interested in the relationship between society and archaeology, but
also by sociologists and social scientists in general.
I began formally writing the volume back in 2001, but the (sometimes uninten-
tional) preparations began much earlier, possibly as far back as 1998 when I wrote
a short article on Anthony Giddens and Niklas Luhmann. The works of these two
giants in the sociological exploration of modernity are heavily cited in the present
volume, together with some implications of their views on sociality and social repro-
duction for archaeology. Since then, I have written a number of tentative pieces,
some of which I have presented orally at a number of conferences and small gather-
ings, both in Japan and in Europe, where many individuals have given me invaluable
comments, advice, and encouragement. Among them, I would speci¬cally like to
thank the following.
Cornelius Holtorf provided me with the initial motivation to write this volume
by inviting me to the session entitled ˜Philosophy and Archaeology™ which he and
Harkan Karlsson organised for the Fifth Annual Meeting of the European Associa-
tion of Archaeologists held at the University of Gothenburg, to give a paper entitled
˜Anthony Giddens and Niklas Luhmann™. Back then, I was utterly unsure about
what to do with what I had learnt from my ¬ve-year-and-four-months-long study
at Cambridge, when I became able to detach myself from the taken-for-granteds in
doing archaeology in my own country, Japan. Returning to Japan in 1994, I suddenly
realised that the environment in which I had to survive as an academic felt strange
and alienating. In other words, I had become different from my former self, and I
Preface xvi

had to renegotiate my position in my own country. By 1997, I had become mentally
exhausted and felt I could not carry on any longer. Giving that theoretical paper,
which, back then, had no chance of being taken seriously in Japan, to a like-minded
and supportive audience helped me accept that I had to ¬nd a way to feel comfortable
with what I had become.
Ian Hodder, Julian Thomas, Stephanie Korner, and Colin Renfrew gave me inspi-
ration and moral support throughout the germination and the writing of the volume
in various ways. Ian Hodder and Colin Renfrew read early versions of the manuscript
and gave me useful advice. Stephanie Korner invited me to a number of sessions she
had organised and encouraged me to develop some core ideas for the current volume.
Julian Thomas criticised my conference papers in a characteristically constructive
and helpful manner, thus helping me prepare the theoritical framework for the cur-
rent volume.
Conversations with Nobiru Notomi and Ikuko Toyonaga were vital in consolidat-
ing core ideas in this volume during the initial stage of the planning. Discussions
with Tada™aki Shichida of the Saga Prefectural Board of Education about his expe-
riences at the Yoshinogari site, where all the problems and challenges which con-
temporary Japanese archaeologists face come together, were most valuable. I would
also like to thank wholeheartedly my colleagues at Kyushu University (˜Kyu-dai™):
Yoshiyuki Tanaka, Shozo Iwanaga, Kazuo Miyamoto, Takahiro Nakahashi, Ren™ya
Sato, Jyun™ichiro Tsujita, and Takeshi Ishikawa, and my present and former students
for having priovided me with a supportive and stimulating environment.
I also have to express my sincere gratitude to two Simons. I thank Simon Whit-
more of Cambridge University Press for his support, advice, and wit all the way from
the day when I sent a draft manuscript to him. Simon Williams of University Col-
lege London carefully read the typescript (twice!), and skilfully (and educationally)
corrected my English.
Finally, my wife, Hiromi, has always been on my side. She believed in what I was
doing when I myself was not sure if it was worthwhile, and supported me when I
felt that the whole world was hostile to what I was doing. She even took the trouble
to read Luhmann and Giddens herself to understand what I was talking about. For
that reason, I dedicate this book to her.

Fukuoka, May 2005
Archaeology in the contemporary world

1.1 A scenario of contemporary archaeology
A cluster of pristine-looking wooden structures suddenly appear in front of those
who approach a low-lying hill sticking out of the heavily wooded mountain range
rising steeply from the rice paddy-covered terrain. The ¬‚ood plain, stretching to the
south until it meets the Sea of Ariake, a large Inland Sea famous for its large tidal
movements and unique marine life, is dotted with hamlets, small factories, and occa-
sionally, heaps of industrial waste. What you see is typical contemporary Japanese
countryside, where the rural is gradually eroded by the ever-expanding urban and
industrial. Against this background, the Yoshinogari Historical Park, which consists
of a number of ˜reconstructed™ archaeological features, an on-site museum, and a
huge visitor centre with large car parks, looks like a gigantic theme park pretend-
ing to be an exotic ancient fortress in a setting most unusual and at the same time
most mundane (Figure 1.1). These pristine-looking wooden structures are ˜recon-
structed™ Late Yayoi period buildings. The Yayoi period was the ¬rst fully ¬‚edged
agrarian period in Japanese history.
The park is the ¬rst of its kind designated by the state, and under the care
of, interestingly, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MLIT:
www.mlit.go.jp/english/index.html), not of the Agency of Cultural Affairs (ACA:
www.bunka.go.jp/english/2002-index-e.html), which is in charge of scheduling and
protecting ˜cultural properties™ including archaeological sites and monuments, both
tangible and intangible. The MLIT™s legislative responsibility is ˜to utilize, develop
and conserve land in Japan in an integrated and systematic way; develop infra-
structure necessary for attaining those goals; implement transportation policies; pro-
mote the progress of meteorological tasks; and maintain marine safety and security™
(Article 3 of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport Establishment Law).
The above suggests that the protection, care and utilisation of this particular site is
taken by the state to be an issue as to how to ˜utilize, develop and conserve™ the land
of Japan. By doing so, the state unwittingly but effectively reveals that it reserves
the right to choose, when it regards it necessary, between the mere protection and
utilisation of the cultural properties that it recognises to be of particular importance.
It also means that when it chooses the latter, the state works as a stakeholder, com-
peting with other entities, both private and public, which also develop and utilise
the land of Japan. As we shall see later in the volume, the manner in which the state
differentiates what is important from what is not concerning things to do with the

Archaeology, Society and Identity 2

Figure 1.1 The Yoshinogari Historical Park (Photographs by the author).
Archaeology in the contemporary world 3

Figure 1.1 (cont.)

past is a direct consequence of the unique history of the modern nation-state of
Japan (see Chapter 4).
The land now incorporated in the park,1 owned by the state and the prefec-
tural government of Saga, was once a mixture of forests, arable ¬elds, tangerine
groves, farmsteads and a local shrine. Back in June 1982, a plan was drawn up by
a prefecture-led committee to turn the area into an industrial complex.2 The exis-
tence of ˜buried cultural properties™ had been known throughout the area well before
the decision was taken, and a series of test-trenchings was carried out between July
and November of the same year, with another series between January and March
1986, which con¬rmed the dense distribution of archaeological features and arte-
fact depositions. As a result, it was decided to preserve four pieces of land, where
the distribution of archaeological features was particularly dense, about 6 hectares
in total, tiny considering the size of the area to be destroyed, as ˜cultural property
greens™, and to develop the remaining c. 30 hectares of land with known buried
properties. The huge rescue work commenced in May 1986, with the plan being a
three-year rescue dig and two additional years of post-excavation work (Saga PBE
1994, 18“24).
1 117 hectares (1,170,000 square metres), see Saga PBE 1997, 1.
2 Saga PBE 1994, 18; Notomi 1997 provides precious ¬rst-hand accounts and thoughts of a member of
prefectural personnel directly involved in the series of events described below.
Archaeology, Society and Identity 4

Figure 1.2 Yoshinogari site under rescue excavation (permission for reproduction obtained from Saga
Prefectural Board of Education).

What the excavation revealed, however, exceeded everyone™s wildest expectations
(Figure 1.2). It was almost the ¬rst time that a large Yayoi settlement with the
characteristics of a regional centre, or ˜central place™, had been subjected to a large-
scale excavation by stripping more than a couple of hectares, let alone literally tens
of hectares, at one go. The sheer number and scale of features and the number
of artefacts which suddenly emerged from the soil simply overwhelmed, ¬rst, the
archaeologists, and subsequently, when the discovery was made public, the general
public (Saga PBE 1994, 45).
The feeling of ˜everything-happened-at-one-go™ due to the stripping of the vast area
seems to have determined the course of what has happened since then, both to the site
and to the discourse which the site has generated. The initial stage of the rescue work
revealed that the site was continuously occupied, at different scales and in different
manners, at each phase (Figure 1.3), throughout the Yayoi period. This period,
dating between c. 600/500 BC and AD 250/300, witnessed the introduction and
Archaeology in the contemporary world 5

Figure 1.3 The formation process of the Yoshinogari phase by phase (modi¬ed from Saga PBE 1997).
Archaeology, Society and Identity 6

establishment of systematic rice paddy-¬eld agriculture in the archipelago of Japan
(cf. Mizoguchi 2002, Chapter 5). Naturally, the features constituting the site and the
spatial structure they made up underwent a number of changes (Figure 1.3) (Saga
PBE 1997). However, the complexity of these spatio-temporal ˜differences™ needed
to be ˜reduced™ in order to enable the general public make sense of and appreciate
the importance of the site. The support of the general public was desperately needed
in order to stop the planned destruction. This simpli¬cation had to be guided and
guarded by the principle that the narrative, or way of talking about and describing the
site, should be coherent, attractive and persuasive, and so a powerful narrative line
was chosen. It functioned as the principle by which to differentiate what is and what
is not desirable to be retained in the simpli¬ed version: selecting features, regardless
of the phases they belonged to, and comparing them with what are depicted to
have constituted the court of the famous Queen Himiko, the ¬gure recorded in
the Chinese of¬cial imperial chronicle of Weizhi. The queen, Weizhi records, was
chosen to reintegrate the polity of Wa, thought to have covered wide areas in the
western and parts of the eastern portion of the archipelago, in a momentary turmoil
sometime during the earlier half of the third century AD (cf. Wada and Ishihara 1951,
37“54). The story of Queen Himiko contains many ˜riddles™, such as the location
of Yamatai, the polity where she reigned, the location of her court, effectively the
capital of the polity of Wa, how she was chosen, and the nature of the religious
practice Weizhi recorded she conducted. These questions have attracted immense
public attention and curiosity, and the quest for answers has developed into a popular
and highly marketable genre in the publishing world in Japan. We will return to the
issue concerning the cause of the popularity of the Yamatai discourse later (Chapter
4). What is important to note here is that the selection of the excavated features, to
be presented as most appropriately exemplifying the character of the site, was made,
despite their different dates of construction and use, because they ¬tted into the
description in Weizhi of the residence of Queen Himiko (Wada and Ishihara 1951,
37“54). These were

(1) outer and inner moats/ditches (the former dug in the late Middle and early Late
Yayoi and the latter Late Yayoi),
(2) the structures situated where the inner moat/ditch protrudes, inferred to have
been ˜watch towers™ (the validity of this inference is strongly disputed),
(3) a rectangular-shaped tumulus containing a number of jar burials many of which
contained a bronze dagger and some other grave goods (dating from the early
Middle Yayoi: cf. Mizoguchi 2002, 142“147).

In spite of their different dates, they have all been ˜reconstructed™, and today stand as
if they actually constituted a uni¬ed entity that was the Yoshinogari, the embodiment
of the story of Queen Himiko (Saga PBE 2000, 2003, 1; Sahara 2003, 302“306).
In other words, the signi¬cance of the site was represented as being mediated by
a type of origin narrative, the origin narrative of the Japanese nation in this case (cf.
Saga PBE 2000, 1; see also Chapter 4.3 of the present volume), and was packaged
Archaeology in the contemporary world 7

by tacitly ignoring the ¬‚ow of time during which the site underwent a number of
changes and transformations.
The stripping of a vast area in one go revealed an ˜archive™ of the traces of human
activities accumulated through time and enabled the selection of features which
¬tted a speci¬c narrative line. In other words, the depth of time through which the
site was formed, and the timelessness of the site as a phenomenon situated in the
present/now, came together, deliberately confused, and was all used to promote of
the importance of the site.
Once the initial outcome of the excavation, packaged with the above-mentioned
narrative, was released to the media, the reaction by the general public was literally
explosive: within two months of the press release, a staggering one million people
had visited the site (Saga PBE 1994, 45). Both the importance of the site and the
human drama behind the struggle to protect the site from imminent destruction
to make way for an industrial park attracted media attention. This even included
TV coverage of the family life and family history of Mr Tada™aki Shichida, who was
in charge of the excavation (cf. Notomi 1997, 56), adding a sense of humility and
contemporaneity to the movement. (We shall come back to the involvement of such
human drama in the reproduction of the typical image of the archaeologist shared
by the general public in Chapter 5.3.) Overwhelming pleas for the preservation of
the site came from academic communities and various other sectors. Finally, the
then prefectural governor decided to halt the planned construction of the industrial
complex (cf. Saga PBE 1994, 45; Sahara 2003, 301“338).
It is as if the rescue excavation worked as a theatre production in which vari-
ous interest groups, each with its own value judgments, both economic and emo-
tional, played mutually affected parts, and created a drama which particularly well
re¬‚ected the conditions in which we live. First of all, there was a group which
tried to revitalise the local economy by constructing an industrial complex on
the land. Retrospectively, the idea of stimulating the stagnant agriculture-based
local economy by simply introducing production industry had come to the end of
its currency by the late 1980s; the Japanese economic structure had been trans-
formed from production-industry based ˜heavy capitalism™ to service and high-
tech industry based ˜light capitalism™ (cf. Bauman 2000b) between the 1960s and
1980s (e.g. Tomoeda 1991, 139“149), and the wave of relocation of production
lines to developing countries with much cheaper production costs was about to
begin. Nowadays, those local governments which are running successful indus-
trial complexes, or industrial parks, are investing large sums of money for the
improvement of the environment in which the factories/laboratories function ef¬-
ciently in terms of welfare for workers, access to main transportation routes, and
so on. In other words, the construction of a new industrial park, by the late
1980s, had become a high-risk choice which inevitably incurred a large investment.
Meanwhile, once approved, local government-run projects are notoriously dif¬cult
to halt, even if an objective calculation reveals that it will not generate wealth ef¬-
ciently. The Saga prefecture, where the Yoshinogari is located, had already had
previous experience of constructing industrial parks, some in the vicinity of the
Archaeology, Society and Identity 8

Yoshinogari itself,3 and that would have made the stoppage of the project even more
Interestingly, the above-mentioned transformation from heavy to light industry in
Japan coincided with a transformation in the logic used for the protection of cultural
resources (˜cultural properties™ in Japanese terminology) from a Marxist-oriented
logic (see Chapter 4.2 below) to a logic appealing to the rather na¨ve sentiment
of the general public. The former condemned the destruction of cultural properties
as the exploitative destruction by monopolistic capitalist corporations of the heritage
of the nation in socio-economic, in other words fairly hard, often academic, terms,
and the latter evoked the sense of attachment to threatened sites/cultural properties
by depicting them as the heritage from ˜our™ ancestors in a soft, non-academic,
narrative style. We shall come back to the implications of this transformation in
Chapter 5. What seems to me of particular importance for the current argument is
that the narrative created by the archaeologists, another interest group involved in
arguing in favour of the protection of the Yoshinogari, exactly embodied this trend.
This narrative, regardless to what extent it was consciously designed as such, evoked
a sense of attachment to the site by depicting it as one to which the origin of the
Japanese nation, whose culture is widely regarded as being fundamentally based
upon rice agriculture, could be traced back (Saga PBE 2000, 1). It also depicted
those who were involved in the rescue, and the protection movement for the site, as
slightly eccentric local heroes, men of the earth in the world of deindustrialisation,
struggling for the sake of the threatened heritage of the nation inherited from our
ancestors. No need to say that, in the narrative, our ancestors also were the people
of the earth toiling to make ends meet by cultivating the land.
What is most remarkable about this narrative is that, initially created for the promo-
tion of the importance of the site, it came to actually in¬‚uence the way the academic
discourse of the site was constituted. What you see at the Yoshinogari today are
mostly reconstructed features which either date from the time of the recorded reign
of Queen Himiko, i.e. the late Late Yayoi, or which do not date from that time but
¬t into the description in the record, the Chinese imperial chronicle of Weizhi. The
buildings had to be reconstructed from mere postholes, their con¬guration, sizes and
structures, artefacts excavated from and in the vicinity of them, and their function
inferred from their reconstructed structure and location in the site. The argument is
bound to be circular, e.g., inference (A) from the con¬guration of the postholes the
building would have been like this, and inference (B) if the building had been like this,
the con¬guration of the postholes would be understood to ¬t the structural demand
(cf. Kensetsu-sho 1997). Without inferential/speculative reference to ethnographic
data or other sources such as documents like Weizhi, this circular argument cannot
be resolved. From this, it can be deduced that there were only two choices for those
who are involved in the presentation of the site: (1) do not do any reconstruction on
the grounds that no reconstruction supported by convincing evidence and reasoning

3 The construction of one of them resulted in the destruction of the important Yayoi cemetery site of
Futatsukayama, yielding a number of burials with grave goods: Saga PBE 1979.
Archaeology in the contemporary world 9

is possible; or (2) reconstruct, admitting that the outcome is speculative, and adding
an explicit description of the way the speculation was made.
In the case of the Yoshinogari, the latter was chosen and the choice was made with
certain conviction: a series of volumes have been published which list the sources
referred to in the reconstruction of buildings, including ethnographic parallels, ¬gu-
rative depictions on artefacts, excavated architectural parts, documents, and so on,
and a number of experts in individual subjects were involved in the compilation of
the volumes and in reasoning the references and decisions taken (e.g. Kensetsu-sho
1997, 2000). What has to be noted here, though, is that the involvement of a large
number of expert scholars and the meticulous listing of numerous pieces of rele-
vant (or inferred to be relevant) information does not itself ensure the validity of the
speculative inferences, although that might enhance the authoritative value and aura
attached to the inferences (e.g. Kensetsu-sho 1997, 12).
Tada™aki Shichida, the prefectural government of¬cer who played a vital role in
the rescue excavation and the movement for the preservation of the site, and has
been a key ¬gure in the management of the site since it was designated as a national
historical park, informed me that from his perspective the reasoning behind the
reconstruction at the Yoshinogari site went thus: without reconstructing them in
one way or another, further argument cannot be generated concerning how they
could be better reconstructed or amended in future, or indeed how the site itself
should be taken care of (Tada™aki Shichida pers. comm. March 2004).
His comment sounds as if it is inspired by re¬‚exive sociological theory or theory of
communication; should the horizon of uncertainty, which leads to various attempts
to make sense of it, not be generated, communication could not and would not
continue (e.g. Luhmann 1995, Chapter 4; and Chapter 3 of this volume). In other
words, Shichida is justifying what has been done to the site by claiming that with-
out problematisation there would be no research progress. This sounds reasonable
enough, provided problematisation is undertaken by making clear the limitations
and potential shortcomings of the work, e.g., listing as many potential referents for
the reconstruction of an archaeological phenomenon as possible, checking how/to
what extent the reconstructed picture is coherent, and examining how well the pic-
ture ¬ts the con¬guration of the archaeological evidence available. However, in the
case of the Yoshinogari the work does not appear to have been conducted in this
way. Instead of listing possible referents, the description in Weizhi was used as the
dominant framework by which the range of the referents used for the inference was
determined, and other possibilities and indeterminacy were either ignored or not
mentioned. Of course, other types of knowledge such as architectural history, the
ethnography of other rice paddy-¬eld agricultural communities in Asia, and archaeo-
logical evidence from elsewhere were mobilised (Kensetsu-sho 2000). However,
when no substantial clue is available, the Weizhi description appears to be prioritised
and referred to as the ˜last instance™ (e.g. Kensetsu-sho 2000, 54, especially bullet
point 3: ˜Documental evidence™).
The media, yet another interest group/stakeholder, and newspapers in particu-
lar, invariably covered the matter by quoting the similarities between the site and
Archaeology, Society and Identity 10

the Weizhi description of the residence/court of Queen Himiko. It is a well-proven
fact that Himiko- and Yamatai-related stories sell very well, and the comparison
by archaeologists of the site with Weizhi was most welcome from the media™s point
of view; or rather, it is most likely that the archaeologists, who knew it quite well,
utilised this tendency of the media in order to arouse public interest.
Immediately after the initial decision was taken for preservation, criticisms con-
cerning the accuracy and validity of the comparison began to be expressed (e.g.
Oda 1990), many of which touched upon the dif¬culty of reconstructing standing
structures from postholes, and the validity of reconstructing the features on the areas
where the inner ditched compound protrudes as ˜watch towers™ depicted in Weizhi
in particular (Oda 1990). These criticisms were expressed in a rather muted manner
from fear that expressing them out loud might reduce the effectiveness of the cam-
paign for the preservation of the site. However, it is important to note that, at that
stage, the boundary between utterance for the sake of preservation of the site and
that for the development of archaeological knowledge was acutely felt and sharply
drawn. Ironically, the fact that the site was worth preserving, even if some potentially
erroneous over-inference had to be made, made the archaeologists aware that it was
of vital importance to clearly draw the boundary between what could and could not
be said ˜archaeologically™ with con¬dence. When necessary, things which could not
be said with con¬dence had to be told to the public for ˜strategic™ reasons, and in
such cases the potential damage needed be minimised by maintaining the credibility
of the discipline in the form of fully grasping what could and could not be said.
However, as time has gone by, this boundary appears to have become blurred.
In particular, once the reconstructed buildings came into existence, the subject of
debate inevitably shifted from how the preserved site could be better represented
to how good or bad/accurate or inaccurate the reconstructed features were, and
because the range of referents for the reconstruction had already been determined
to be within what was written in Weizhi, the debate naturally came to concentrate
on the appropriateness of the ˜reading™ of the referents, i.e., the reading of Weizhi,
rather than on examining the validity of the range of the referents chosen. Conse-
quently, the discursive space generated and reproduced around the site has ended
up being dominated by arguments about Weizhi and Queen Himiko, regardless of
whether the opinions expressed were to promote the importance of the site or to
advance archaeological knowledge (Kensetsu-sho 2000, 22“25).
The most interesting thing about all this is that the majority of those who took
part in the reproduction of this discourse appear to have been aware of its problem-
atic nature in one way or another. A number of criticisms on speci¬c points of the
reconstruction and on the understanding of the character of the site have been put
forward (e.g. Takesue 1990, 25“27). However, they are neither put together to form a
coherent alternative narrative which can replace the present one nor are they uttered
within the discourse itself. In other words, the mainstream Yoshinogari discourse
can carry on unscathed despite the number of criticisms hurled at it. There even
seems to exist an atmosphere in which those who are not involved in the Yoshinogari
project and who criticise elements of it are labelled irresponsible bystanders. It is as
Archaeology in the contemporary world 11

if the discourse generated and reproduced around the Yoshinogari has come to form
a protected, autonomous domain in which people are obliged to conform to a rule
of communication unique to the domain. Outside it, people communicate about the
Yoshnogari quite differently and sometimes harshly criticise the way the Yoshinogari
discourse reproduces itself, but they never do so when they are within the domain
What is tacitly but widely recognised to matter most here seems to be how to
continue the discourse without disruption even if it might imply the reproduction of
erroneous remarks and understandings. The risk of losing the discourse altogether
appears to be judged more serious than the risk of continuing it with errors and mis-
understandings, perhaps because the errors and misunderstandings can be amended
later as long as the discourse continues. This can be described as the tactic of delay-
ing judgment and avoiding the catastrophic termination of the dialogue, which is
one of the viable choices; at least a much better choice than closing down the dia-
logue altogether and making amendment impossible for ever. We shall come back
to the implications of the issue of not terminating a dialogue/discourse throughout
this volume.
The above observation of the formation and reproduction of a site-speci¬c dis-
course suggests that archaeology as a discipline is no longer a uni¬ed discourse seek-
ing a uni¬ed goal but constitutes a discursive space accommodating various interest
groups. In the perception of those who de¬ne themselves as archaeologists, a uni¬ed
goal may still exist for archaeology as an academic pursuit/practice. However, those
who do not de¬ne themselves as archaeologists and yet become involved in social
practices dealing with matters regarded as ˜archaeological™ are dramatically increas-
ing in number and have come to have certain impacts upon the way archaeological
practice is perceived as well as conducted. The impacts the latter have brought to
archaeology, in that sense, are ontological and operational, and they are intercon-
nected and interdependent.
As mentioned earlier, and we shall return to it in Chapter 4, Marxism, one of the
˜grand narratives™ generated in and constituting the modern world, used to provide
archaeologists with a type of ˜ontological security™, by which I mean a sense of
knowing why they are doing things in the world the way they do. The sense was
underpinned by the feeling (retrospectively described by many as illusion) that a
uni¬ed goal existed in the practice of archaeology: the construction of a better society
by re¬‚ecting upon the ills inherited from the past, the ills being of a politico-economic
kind. Therefore, around the 1970s, at the peak of the destruction of sites due to a
sustained spurt in Japanese economic growth, one of the most loudly expressed
archaeo-political slogans was to ¬ght against the unchecked activities of the mono-
polistic capitalist by interpreting the past as the root of social inequality and injustice
from Marxist perspectives (NKK 1981, Chapter 1; also see Chapter 4.2 of this
Na¨vity in connecting the past and the present in this manner, in retrospect, is
undeniable. However, the logic appears to have ¬tted the reality of the contemporary
society. Income-based social inequality was still a dominant social issue back then
Archaeology, Society and Identity 12

(e.g. Tomoeda 1991, 139“149), and the division between the haves and the have-
nots was connected to the ideological division between socialism and capitalism,
epitomised by the Cold War. In such circumstances, it would have felt natural that the
rights and wrongs could be determined by the difference between the good and bad
application of Marxist theory. This was seen in terms of coherence in the articulated
connection between the theory, the data, and the problems of contemporary society,
if a given archaeologist™s stance inclined to the socialist half of the dichotomy. Such
concern as to how appealing the interpretation was to the general public would have
not felt so important; if the interpretation were correct and real, it was believed,
the general public would accept it in one way or another because the problem was
shared by everyone. If the general public could not appreciate the importance and
relevance of the interpretation, it was widely accepted that they had to be educated
and enlightened (we shall come back to this point in Chapters 4.2 and 4.3).
Now, this type of bold self-con¬dence has long gone as reality has changed from
one which was deeply embedded in economic concerns to one which is concerned
more with broad cultural, and hence ¬‚uid, matters such as lifestyle, fashion and
health, a characteristic phenomenon of the social formation described as late- or
high- or post-modern, and the feeling of uncertainty prevails: what I utter by believing
in its validity could be criticised in any way by those who have different views and
beliefs from mine. And we just hope our utterances will be met with some response in
order to prevent unbearable silence. Otherwise, we feel as if we are lost in identifying
ourselves; when there is nothing ¬xed and universal with which to identify oneself,
such as a ¬xed, and believed-to-be universal value system or social class, the only
viable way to con¬rm one™s identity is to engage in a dialogue and see how others
respond. In this circumstance, what matters most, it is widely felt, is how we style our
utterances in order to enable the continuation of such a dialogue. And considering
that it is individuals, faced with the above-mentioned dif¬culty, that reproduce a
discourse, the ¬nding is also applicable to archaeological discourses.
The Yoshinogari today stands amidst such ongoing discourses, that do not aim to
reach anywhere speci¬c but just to continue, hopefully in lively fashion and mak-
ing (cultural and economic) pro¬t. The discourse concerning the reconstruction of
intangible features is well packaged in order to carefully avoid giving any de¬nite
conclusion, in curious contrast with the imposing and de¬nite material existence
of the reconstructed features and buildings in the middle of typical contemporary
Japanese countryside (Figures 1.1 and 1.2). This experience is not con¬ned to the
Yoshinogari; the Japanese countryside is dotted with archaeological sites with ˜recon-
structed™ features and buildings, though many of them are on a much smaller scale
than the Yoshinogari, and more or less identical sorts of tales can be heard from those
who are involved in those site reconstruction projects. The concern they share most
widely is not the academic credibility of the reconstruction but the decline in annual
visitor ¬gures: as long as reconstructed sites are situated in the node of different, often
contradictory, interests concerning, without exception, economic matters, albeit to
differing degrees, they are bound to be consumed. It seems as if there is a sell-by date
attached to each of these sites, and those sites that fail to ˜renew™ their appearance
Archaeology in the contemporary world 13

and/or visitor attractions begin to bore the general public and be forgotten. At the
Yoshinogari, despite the national park project being ongoing with new reconstruc-
tions and small-scale excavations constantly in progress, the annual visitor ¬gure is
in steep decline (Tada™aki Shichida, pers. comm. 2004). It is extremely dif¬cult to
sustain site-speci¬c discourses in the face of public apathy and the relativisation of
the value/meaning of reconstructed sites.

1.2 Uncertainty, archaeology and the world we live in
The above observations of experience surrounding the protection and subsequent
utilisation of a site as a cultural property/resource reveal that we have come to the
point in the history of Japanese archaeology where a signi¬cant number of those who
do, or are interested in, archaeology feel that there is no such thing as the ˜de¬nite™,
singular past. Regardless of whether or not one believes in the possibility of some
day reaching the de¬nite, i.e., perfect, reconstruction of the past, almost all of us
accept, tacitly or explicitly, that the past is something to be continuously disputed.
In other words, as suggested, archaeology has become widely regarded as a kind of
designated arena, or discursive space, in which only how to negotiate one™s position
with others within the limit without disrupting the continuous presence of the arena
Various ˜stakeholders™, including archaeologists, the state, politicians, develop-
ers, property dealers, local residents, farmers, factory owners, and environmental
activists, are involved in the continuation of negotiations/dialogues that constitute a
socially accepted, and state-funded, discursive space, or a discipline, called archae-
ology. They each negotiate their own position and try to maintain or enhance their
own, often mutually contradictory, interest. However, they can do so only as long
as the discursive space continues to exist. Therefore, a self-regulatory code of the
way in which they negotiate, or a self-discipline (although this is far from what the
term was originally supposed to mean), becomes naturally generated, and even a
scholastic opinion sometimes seems to be formed through the process of negotiation
and self-regulation (see Chapter 5.3).
Here, the reader might immediately notice some intriguing similarities between
the phenomena illustrated above and what is elegantly reported by Ian Hodder to be
happening around the ongoing research project at the Neolithic site of Catalhoyuk,
Turkey (e.g. Hodder 1999, Chapter 9; 2003). There are, of course, many differences,
the most signi¬cant of which is that Catalhoyuk has, from the very beginning, been
an intentionally experimental, long-term research project, whereas the Yoshinogari
began accidentally as a rescue dig without any anticipation of ending up as a large,
partially state-¬nanced, research, conservation, and utilisation project. Besides, the
Yoshinogari is situated in a location which is typical of a developed/industrialised
nation, as Japan is a member of the so-called G7 industrialised nations; in contrast,
Catalhoyuk is situated in a typical so-called developing country. However, we should
not overlook the similarities that do not appear to be coincidental. Both are con-
cerned with and in¬‚uenced by various ¬nancial matters (Hodder 1999, Chapter 9),
they both have, admittedly to different degrees, a multi-disciplinary outlook. They
Archaeology, Society and Identity 14

both function as discursive spaces in which it is accepted, tacitly in the case of
Yoshinogari and explicitly and intentionally in the case of Catalhoyuk, that various
stakeholders will negotiate their position and their interpretations will be in¬‚uenced
by their own interests and made ¬‚uid.
What do those projects, so far apart in terms of physical distance and context,
share that makes these similarities emerge? The word ˜globalisation™ might spring
to mind. It is treated in Hodder™s account as a keyword with which to capture
the nature of what is going on in contemporary archaeology (1999, Chapter 9).
Globalisation means different things to different people, but it can be summarised
as the cluster of phenomena resulting from the inundation of the world by a developed
(˜hyper-™) capitalism including not only the homogenisation of cultures but also the
articulation/rearticulation of, predominantly cultural, differences in order either to
continue generating pro¬t or to react, at times violently, against the homogenisation
and reproduction of the misdistribution of wealth/resources resulting from hyper-
capitalism (Bauman 2000a).
What underpins this most signi¬cantly, particularly in developed, industrialised
nations, is the shift in the source of socially shared issues, satisfaction, and discontent
from predominantly economic to cultural/symbolic (Jameson 1991, Chapter 1). We
shall come back to this point in Chapter 5, but brie¬‚y touching upon the matter,
the general rise of living standards and the end of the Cold War transformed the
tangible differences internally dividing a society from economic to cultural/symbolic
ones. This resulted in the replacement of competition over the allocation of material
wealth with competition over cultural/symbolic capitals (Jameson 1991). One signi-
¬cant situation which has resulted from this phenomenon is that there is no party
policy or epistemic stance which can claim the transcendental position outside this
¬eld of competing and clashing, predominantly cultural/symbolic, interests, and that
has led to a crisis of self identi¬cation. Without something transcendental/¬xed by
which rights and wrongs are judged, it is dif¬cult to decide how to act in certain cir-
cumstances in a stable, predictable manner, and not knowing/being unable to decide
how to act means you are unsure about what you are and what you stand for. This
has also resulted in the situation in which any criticism against other parties/positions
can come back to haunt those who made it, because any interest/position generated
in this ¬eld of clashing interests is inevitably embedded in the working of hyper-
capitalism which relativises everything in order to create and recreate differences for
the continuation of pro¬t-making. For example, a new fashion, which has emerged
by claiming that the old one is boring, is destined to be engineered to be boring and to
be replaced by a new one in order to sustain/increase the pro¬t level (Bauman 2000b,
85). We might add that any culture/symbol-based social claim/demand is bound to
be either challenged or relativised simply because there are many cultures coexisting
as autonomous value systems in contemporary society, which is sometimes charac-
terised as ˜multicultural.™ In other words, no one can claim ultimate victory, moral,
scienti¬c, or otherwise, over others unless one quits the game of relativisation, i.e.,
continuing to operate in the sphere of hyper-capitalistic social formation, yet quitting
is almost impossible. Both the Yoshinogari and Catalhoyuk are ¬rmly situated in that
Archaeology in the contemporary world 15

sphere which reproduces itself, along the line of the dichotomy between making and
not making pro¬ts in the last instance.
In such circumstances, one instinctively comes to know that the only possibility
left to those who still wish to do some good in the world, not de¬nitely knowing what
that good is, is to carry on arguing. ˜To carry on™ is the second-best, and only realistic,
choice. Then, the most urgent, realistic question becomes: what to argue, and how?
Accepting this as a matter of fact, not only for life in the contemporary world but also
for the archaeological practice situated in it, this volume examines the background
against which this ˜attitude™ has become inevitable, how such a situation has emerged,
and, drawing upon the outcome of the enquiry, considers how to answer these ˜what™
and ˜how™ questions, i.e., what to argue about in archaeology, and how.
In order to begin this undertaking, we need to start by considering again, but this
time more deeply, the characteristics of the world we live in. The name given to
the world we live in and do archaeology in, whose symptomatic characteristics we
sketched above, varies: high-modernity, late-modernity, post-modernity, and, sim-
ply, modernity. The fact that there are a number of ways to capture the reality of this
society by naming it itself tells us a lot about it: the way to observe something is bound
to be subject to another observation in this society, and the way that observation is
made is also subject to yet another observation. This endless chain of observations of
observations, i.e., ˜second-order observations™, constitutes the ultimate source of the
above-mentioned relativisation/loss of the universal/transcendental position, and sig-
ni¬cantly characterises the society we live in, and in which we are doing archaeology
The proliferation of second-order observations and confronting problems result-
ing from it forces us to face up to the intrinsic nature of communication, which makes
the proliferation of second-order observations in contemporary society inevitable.
Let me explain at length why we have to start by fully grasping the nature of com-
munication, despite the fact that the socio-political and socio-economic factors no
doubt contribute to the coming of a world dominated by second-order observations
and consequent endless relativisation. The understanding of communication as the
most basic social phenomenon, i.e., as the minimum unit of society and the source
of the generation of sociality, serves as the background against which this volume™s
investigation and argumentation are conducted. According to the German sociol-
ogist, the late Niklas Luhmann, communication is the unity of three autonomous
spheres of choices, information, utterance, and understanding (1995, Chapter 4): (a)
what information to utter, (b) how to utter it, and (c) how to understand the differ-
ence between the information and the utterance constitute the basic components of
communication, the sequential chaining of which constitutes communication. The
relationship between information and utterance can be compared to that between
signi¬er and signi¬ed. In communication, a signi¬er is rarely connected to only one
signi¬ed; a signi¬er is usually connected to a number of signi¬eds. That means that
when a signi¬er is uttered, it opens up a horizon of choices: to be more exact, the
utterance of a signi¬er stimulates the person who hears the utterance to differentiate
a horizon of choices from which s/he chooses a signi¬ed to understand what the
Archaeology, Society and Identity 16

signi¬er signi¬es. When that happens, neither speaker nor hearer is sure whether the
signi¬er is connected to the intended signi¬ed. What they can do is to observe the
way the other reacts to what each one utters. This means that there is no way to
simultaneously check if the utterance of information is exactly understood, and this
is because one cannot look into the other™s head when s/he utters information.
Then, how can we check whether the information we utter is understood by the
other in the way we intend? In other words, how can communication occur in the ¬rst
place? There is no way to check it directly; those who are involved in communication
have to assume that the information is properly understood if the communication
continues. A serious problem for the archaeologist, which this ¬nding implies, is
that the archaeologist studies the material traces of past human communication and
s/he cannot check if s/he properly understands the information which people in the
past intended to send, because the latter are long dead. We shall not get into the
issue of how to solve this here. What is important for the current argument is that
this inevitable/intrinsic indeterminacy in communication causes a number of serious
problems with profound social implications for the practice of archaeology today.
I have to begin by saying that this indeterminacy is the very source of archaeo-
logical imagination: indeterminacy stimulates the generation of new problems, new
solutions, and new perspectives in archaeology. In other words, second-order obser-
vations are vital for the healthy reproduction of archaeology as a communication
system. However, indeterminacy also causes serious problems which haunt archae-
ologists the world over today, some examples of which we have already seen in the
Yoshinogari discourse and the Catalhoyuk experience.
Before turning to these problems, though, let us imagine how the indeterminacy
might be solved. It can be inferred that the accumulation of the experience of the
continuation of communication reduces (the sense of) the indeterminacy of commu-
nication. In contemporary society, the condition upon which the experience of the
successful continuation of communication can be accumulated, i.e., the sharing of
the time“space locales of everyday activities, is increasingly dif¬cult to obtain/secure.
As a natural reaction to it, an increasing number of micro-discursive spaces come
into being, in which a limited number of like-minded individuals participate in dense
and highly nuanced communication and acquire the somewhat illusory sense of
sharing experiences and mutual understanding.4 In that sense, contemporary soci-
ety, regardless of whether it is described as late-, or high-, or post-modern, may be/is
characterised by the uncontrollable regeneration of micro-cosmoses of communication.
The emergence and proliferation of ˜post-processual archaeologies™, it seems, can be
understood as a re¬‚ection of this wider trend in the general discursive formation of
contemporary society (we shall come back to this in Chapter 5).
The post-processual archaeology movement has been understood as an attempt
to reconnect archaeology to the reality and concerns of contemporary society, and
that has been claimed to stimulate the emergence of many ˜archaeologies™ each

4 The image of parallel sessions in a TAG (British Theoretical Archaeology Group) conference might
spring to the mind of some readers here.
Archaeology in the contemporary world 17

of which is a value-committed reaction to a speci¬c social issue concerning the
present as well as the past (e.g. Hodder and Hutson 2003, Chapter 9, esp. 224“
233). However, this trend, quite ironically, is accelerating further fragmentation
and a further rise in the sense of indeterminacy in archaeological communication.
Each of the issues concerning the advocates of the movement is often localised and
requires the acquisition of speci¬c local knowledge, which can only be obtained
through densely sharing mundane activities. That experience would surely solve the
above-mentioned indeterminacy in the form of practically sharing a value system.
However, at the same time, that makes the value system, whose validity a practitioner
claims, local, parochial and inaccessible to those who do not share the value system.
Therefore what often happens is miscommunication and cynicism; the language
used in such a discourse tends to be regarded as in-word-laden by those outside,
and those inside tend to become hostile to outside criticism because they tend to
become self-righteous through their intense, value-laden commitment and the kind
of comradeship generated by it.
In addition, there is another source of cynicism and fragmentation, that is,
homogenisation through fragmentation. Those who communicate in each of these
micro-cosmoses know that there are innumerable other cosmoses out there and
that those who communicate in those cosmoses are doing what they are doing, i.e.,
acquiring a sense of communicability by differentiating what they are doing, i.e.,
the way they are communicating, from what others are doing. However, as long as
they are all trying to communicate differently from others, they end up doing the
same, because they all are trying to be different! Hence, a cynical feeling that we
are producing an ever-increasing number of ˜archaeologies™ in order to differenti-
ate self from others becomes widespread. We are living and doing archaeology in a
world in which the attempt to be different makes us similar and leads us to further
differentiation, which results in further fragmentation. This is an endless process.
One of the serious consequences of this in archaeological communication, which
is a desperate attempt at stopping this endless process of fragmentation, is the gen-
eration of narratives of the extreme, such as the narrative of the largest and the oldest.5
By ignoring the meaning content of communication, e.g., the nature and charac-
ter of a site, because it is felt not to be fully understood in any way, but focusing
instead solely on enhancing the quanti¬able content of communication, such as how
old/large the site is, one tries to acquire an (actually illusory) mutual understand-
ing of the subject matter. This somewhat desperate attempt to maintain a sense of
communicability, however, has a serious side effect: narratives of the extreme tend
to be connected to ethno-nationalistic narratives and sentiment (Kohl and Fawcett
The fragmentation of discursive space, resulting from the above, has led to the
fragmentation of the identity of the archaeologist as well. Identity here means the

5 The search for the origins of the constitutive elements of contemporary society and being human might
be included in the list of such narratives (Gamble 2001, 156“172), but the narratives of the largest and
the oldest also have some different implications from that, predominantly to do with the nation-state
and modernity (see Chapters 2“5 of this volume).
Archaeology, Society and Identity 18

unity of expectations as to how one has to act in certain contexts, how others would
act in these contexts, and how others would expect one to act in these contexts. The
spatio“temporal extension of the domain within which one™s identity is comfortably
reproduced becomes increasingly smaller in contemporary society, and in order to
cope with the condition one is forced to reformulate one™s identity from time to
time. It is natural for the fragmented self to seek transcendental entities with which
to regain the sense of unity/one-ness, and, in modernity, such transcendental entities
have been, and still are, fatefully connected to ethno-nationalistic referents. An irony
is that such transcendentals, articulated through the generation of narratives of the
extreme are, after all, bound to be localised, e.g., the largest in the so-and-so region,
and in that sense can easily be relativised. In other words, such narratives are too
concrete to be genuinely transcendental. Hence, many competing, ˜would-be™ tran-
scendental narratives continue to come out, and further accelerate the fragmentation
of the discursive space and the consumption of the value and popularity of the sites.
Needless to say, this leads to endless relativisation of one™s standpoint and nihilism.
To seek a way out of this crisis is no simple task. The remedy, apparently, does not
lie with a strategy such as referring back to what it was like before the fragmentation
began. We can no longer rely on grand, universal/universalising narratives, such as
Marxism, which themselves are based upon the existence of a shared communal
life“world which no longer exists.
This volume is dedicated to considering the issue by tracing the process through
which we have arrived at the present situation and by analysing the constitutive char-
acteristics of the situation. The situation and process can be broadly described as two
of the phenomena characterising modernity, and the conditions and problems men-
tioned above are constitutive elements of its current form, which Anthony Giddens
describes as radicalised modernity (Giddens 1990), and many other scholars prefer
to call post-modernity. The nature and character of each of these conditions and
problems, in any case, have been constituted and transformed through the mat-
uration/radicalising process of modernity. By tracing the co-transformation of the
constitutive characteristics of modernity and archaeological discursive formation
and by analysing the nature and character of their interdependence at each phase of
the process, this volume will consider a better way to cope with the dif¬culties which
have been, and continue to be, generated by modernity/modern social formation.
What one has to be explicitly aware of in an exercise of this kind is that the exercise
itself is inevitably situated in a condition in which any discursive act is articulated
in a vicious circle of interdependence between second-order observations and the
fragmentation of communication ¬elds. In that sense, what follows is bound to be
a self-re¬‚exive exercise, from an archaeological perspective, in the world of second-
order observations/self-re¬‚exion, and so, in that sense, is the process of learning how
to carry on re-examining the way we communicate about the conditions in which
we communicate. The next chapter begins this undertaking, by looking into the
relationship between modernity and archaeology in general terms.
Modernity and archaeology

2.1 Archaeology as a modern institution
It has already been recognised that the discipline of archaeology is, by its origin and
nature, a fundamentally modern institution. A systematic manipulation of the past,
involving kinds of excavations, appears to have taken place in some ancient states
(e.g. Trigger 1989, 27“31; Schnapp 1996). The use of the past in the form of the
mobilisation of ancestoral images and the place-related memory of past human acts
began much earlier (e.g. Bradley 2002). However, the disciplinisation of archaeology,
or the beginning of ˜scienti¬c archaeology™ as Bruce Trigger puts it (1989, Chapter
3), i.e., the articulation of the subject matter, objectives, and methods with which
the discursive boundary between what is and is not archaeology can be drawn, took
place, as a process rather than as an event, in the formative phase of ˜modernity™
(Trigger 1989, 73“86).
The concept ˜modernity™ is de¬ned in various ways and manners. Here, I wish
to refer to Malcolm Waters™s characterisation as a balanced, and appropriately con-
crete, de¬nition. According to Waters, modernity is a ˜socio-cultural con¬guration™
characterised by the following (Waters 1999, xii“xiii):
(1) production systems are industrial,
(2) an increasing proportion of interpersonal practices are self-interested, rational
and calculating,
(3) physical and social objects, including human labour, are de¬ned as commodities,
and regarded as exchangeable,
(4) control of the state is speci¬ed by social role rather than by personal character-
istics and is subject to periodic constituency legitimation,
(5) individuals have citizenship rights that they can claim against the state,
(6) the primary site of legitimacy and responsibility is the individual person,
(7) the value spheres of culture (truth, beauty and morality) are autonomised relative
to each other and to other areas of social life,
(8) social units “ families, schools, governments, ¬rms, churches, voluntary associ-
ations, etc. “ are differentiated from one another.
In short, (a) industrialisation, (b) rationalisation, (c) commodi¬cation, (d) bureau-
cratisation, (e) citizenship, (f) deconstruction of kinship/local ties, (g) seculari-
sation, and (h) institutional segmentation and specialisation, are the constitutive
elements of modernity. As a historical period, modernity, in that sense, began as
all of those attributes came into place, and that took place at about the turn of

Archaeology, Society and Identity 20

the nineteenth century (Waters 1999, xiii). They came together and replaced the
old, ˜pre-modern™, system characterised by its hierarchical structures supported by
religion and kin/local ties with that characterised by the internal horizontal func-
tional differentiation of the above-mentioned elements. (We shall come back to this
structural transformation of the social system later in the volume.) The ˜Industrial
Revolution™ (between c. 1750 and 1820) and the American and French Revolutions
(1776 and 1789 respectively), as widely accepted, were two signi¬cant episodes
in the process toward the establishment of the above-characterised socio-cultural
con¬guration, although, of course, the origin of some of the above-mentioned
traits/characteristics predated it.
That the disciplinisation process of archaeology coincided in timing with the emer-
gence and establishment of modernity means that the cause of the disciplinisation
can be meaningfully investigated by examining possible causal connections between
the character of archaeological practice/activities and the above-mentioned traits of
modernity one by one. For instance, parallelism between the elements of modernity
and the methodological elements of archaeological excavation established in the late
nineteenth century, marking the beginning of ˜scienti¬c archaeology™ (Trigger 1989,
Chapter 3), is quite clear. The excavation, and recording method and technique
adopted by the British Lieutenant General Pitt Rivers, excavating, recording and
publishing sites in his Cranborne Chase estates during the late nineteenth century,
for instance, well exempli¬es this point (cf. Lucas 2001). Regarding the connection
with industrialisation, the ˜strip-digging™ method he adopted, by which the ground
was cleared in a series of successive parallel trenches, the spoil from one being used
to back¬ll the last, was a common method in shallow quarrying in the nineteenth
and early twentieth centuries (Lucas 2001, 20). Pitt Rivers saw suf¬cient search and
careful recording as the two crucial tenets of ¬eldwork: one can see the connection
with the spirit of rationalisation and calculation here. His desire to systematise the pro-
cedure of excavation and recording was such that he trained assistants in surveying
and draughting (Lucas 2001). His division/segmentation of labour, his specialisation
distinguishing the assistants from the labourers, and his bureaucratic management
re¬‚ect the organisational elements of modernity. His advocation of artefact classi¬-
cation, based upon evolutionary typology (Lucas 2001, 25“26), can be connected
to secularisation amongst other elements of modernity; things changed, they did not
remain the way god created them. In other words, excavation, a de¬nitive element
of scienti¬c archaeology, came into existence as an autonomous sphere of social
practice embodying and representing the constitutive elements of modernity in its
own manner, and it was one of a vast number of such autonomous spheres including
other scienti¬c disciplines and their technical sub-disciplines which came into being
with the formation and maturation of modernity. As far as its methodological and
practical aspects are concerned, in that sense, archaeology was indeed a child of
However, when it comes to theoretical“discursive characteristics, i.e., how the
subject is described and made sense of, the disciplinisation of archaeology can be
more meaningfully investigated in terms of its relationship with the emergence of
Modernity and archaeology 21

the nation-state and nationalism (e.g. Diaz-Andreu and Champion 1996; Kohl and
Fawcett 1996). This is partly due to the fact that the relationship is highly tangible
in the form of the manipulation of the archaeological past for various ˜nationalist™
causes, a well-quoted example of which is the mobilisation of archaeological knowl-
edge for the justi¬cation of German borders throughout the late nineteenth century
and the early twentieth century: the distribution of a particular artefact/feature or a
set of them was equated with the domain inhabited by a particular population, e.g., a
˜race™, and the archaeological trace of the habitation of a race was considered to vali-
date/legitimise the occupation/annexation by the state, in which the descendant pop-
ulation of that race was believed to constitute the majority, of the area (cf. Wiwjorra
1996). However, it is more important to note for the current argument that national-
ism is not only a signi¬cant but also an inevitable consequence of modernity (cf. Gell-
ner 1983), and typi¬es its constitutive nature and character. Many of the constitutive
elements of modernity, mentioned earlier, are interdependent with the nation-state
in terms of their generation and acceleration: it has been well documented that their
generation was both cause and consequence of various inter-state competitions over
resources and markets that resulted in the establishment of many nation-states in
Europe. In that sense, focusing on the connection between archaeology and nation-
alism/the nation-state in the investigation of the relationship between modernity and
archaeology is a natural choice. It has to be stated here, however, that the causal-
ity and implications of the connection between archaeology and nationalism/the
nation-state can only be fully understood if it is properly situated in the broader
landscape of modernity. We will come back to this point repeatedly throughout the

2.2 Archaeology, the nation-state, and the transcendental
The connection between primordialism in ethnic self identi¬cation and archaeol-
ogy as a discourse of the past in the present has been recognised as a constitutive
factor behind the connection between nationalism and archaeology (Diaz-Andreu
and Champion 1996; Kohl and Fawcett 1996). By primordialism I mean the belief
that there are core/innate/determinant elements of an ethnic identity, ranging from
biological characteristics through kinship connections to cultural traits such as lan-
guage, whose origin is believed to go back to the most distant past (cf. Sokolovskii
and Tishkov 1996). It has been pointed out that the sense of timelessness and antiq-
uity which derives from this belief gives rise to the illusion of a nation as ˜natural™
and authentic (Sorensen 1996, 28“29). Most of what has been put forward so far
about the mechanism behind this connection, though, takes the so-called ˜instru-
mentalist™ stance (Sokolovskii and Tishkov 1996). This emphasises the otherness and
the manipulability of the past as the basic source and foundation of the connection;
the otherness allows the past to be mythologised/mysti¬ed. At the same time, this
allows that anything, such as the core elements of the identity of an ethnic group,
can be found in it that those who look into it would like to see. In other words,
primordialist beliefs are articulated as instruments for interest-laden claims in the
present such as ethnic/nationalist claims for the continuous presence of an ethnic
Archaeology, Society and Identity 22

identity. It is vitally important to note, however, that otherness and manipulability
are generic attributes of the past, and it remains to be explained why the otherness
and manipulability of the past came to be perceived as such in a manner and why
that particular manner, called archaeology, in which the otherness was systematically
tamed, i.e., made familiar/comprehensible to the masses, became articulated during
the formative process of modernity, but not before that.
The constitutive characteristics of modernity, i.e., industrialisation, rationalisa-
tion, commodi¬cation, bureaucracy, citizenship, and secularisation, though initially
emerging at different points in history, came together to form a systemic whole at
the turn of the nineteenth century, and that took the form of the modern nation-state.
By ˜nation-state™ I mean a political unit consisting of an autonomous state occupied
predominantly by a population sharing a common culture, belief in a common eth-
nic ancestry, and a common language. Prototypes of the modern nation-state are
commonly regarded to have emerged earlier (e.g. Britain, France and Spain) but
it was not until the mid/late nineteenth century when these traits became fully in
place and they began operating, i.e., competing against one another economically,
politically, and militarily over resources and markets (e.g. Hobsbawm 1990). The
nation-state, like modernity, can be grasped as a con¬guration, this time a con-
¬guration of mechanisms for the integration of the inhabitants of its domain. The
word ˜integration™ here is interchangeable with ˜homogenisation™; the inhabitants of
the domain had to be made ˜citizens™, i.e., individuals who were guaranteed their
autonomy and rights from the state regardless of their gender, class, and other dif-
ferences in return for ful¬lling their duties to the state, including paying tax and
accepting conscription. The relationship between modernity and the nation-state is
typi¬ed in the concept of citizenship in that the traits characterising modernity, i.e.,
industrialisation, rationalisation, commodi¬cation, bureaucracy, and secularisation,
all mediate and are all mediated by the existence of the citizen: they are guaranteed
the right to sell their own labour and to buy one another™s to make maximum pro¬t;
their important rites of passage, birth, coming of age/starting a family, death, and so
on, have to be witnessed and registered by state bureaucrats, not necessarily by local
priests; and everyone is equal on these grounds as long as they ful¬l their duty to the
state. Coming back to the issue, the mechanisms for integration/homogenisation can
be categorised into (1) economic, (2) governing/controlling, (3) ideological, and (4)
symbolic mechanisms of integration, and, referring to the French First Republic as
an example,

(1) the economic mechanism comprises the expansion and consolidation of
transportation/communication networks, the uni¬cation of a currency, and the
modernisation of taxation systems,
(2) the governing/controlling mechanism is the establishment of a constitution, cen-
tralised government, parliament, court of law, police force, prison service, and
regular national army of conscripts,
(3) the politico-ideological mechanism involves the establishment of a family regis-
ter, education systems, museums, political parties, and newspapers,
Modernity and archaeology 23

(4) the symbolic mechanism is the creation of the national ¬‚ag and anthem, the
standardisation of a national language, the promotion of literature and ¬ne arts,
the compilation of a national history, and the foundation and organisation of
national ritual festivals (Nishikawa 1995).

Those mechanisms and their elements are mutually connected in a systemic, inter-
dependent manner. In considering how the connection between the nation-state and
archaeology is situated in this systemic whole, the following fact appears to be of
particular importance: the rise of a new nation-state was often associated with the
articulation of the narrative of the ethnic unity of the state. The implications of this
can be examined in terms of the relationship between the perception of ethnicity and
nationalistic feelings. Nationalistic feelings are commonly classi¬ed into the ˜civic™
and ˜ethnic™ types (cf. Smith 2001, 39“42); the former is based upon the idea of the
nation as a rational, voluntaristic association of citizens bound by common laws and
a shared territory; the latter as an organic whole to which individual members belong
because they share an innate national character (Smith 2001). However, they both
often converge so that the former, often supported by culture, especially a selected
and standardised vernacular language as almost the only objective indicator of the
unity of a group, is connected to the feeling of ethnic unity. And the rising feeling of
ethnic unity, quite often, was supported by the rising popular belief in a continuing
ethnic identity from the distant past (Smith 1986, 2001).
Anthony Smith emphasises that the existence of groupings which can be called
˜nations™ (by nations he means ˜felt and lived communities whose members share a
homeland and a culture™ (2001, 12)) predates the emergence of the nation-state and
nation-states were often formed from such nations (Smith 2001). In contrast, Bene-
dict Anderson has pointed out that in many cases it was the emergence of a state,
which was a politically integrated unit with clearly drawn boundaries (not ˜frontiers™,
which are fundamentally ¬‚uid), that resulted in the articulation of an ethnicity and
its underpinning tradition(s) including a national vernacular language and literary
tradition (Anderson 1991). Those dichotomous viewpoints epitomise the difference
between the ˜perennialist™ (Smith) and ˜modernist™ (Anderson) approaches compet-
ing in the study of nationalism today (cf. Smith 2001, Chapter 3). According to
Ernest Gellner, though, Smith and Anderson are not in such sharp dispute as they
might seem (Gellner 1983). Gellner argues that differences which had potential for
differentiating groups including what can be called ˜nations™ were not problematised
until the time industrialisation resulted in the uneven distribution of wealth relating
to status/positional differentiation in individual political units/states (Gellner 1983).
This can be expressed thus: pre-existing ˜nations™ had rarely been connected to any
social division causing advantage/disadvantage to the divided groups until industri-
alisation. The destruction of agrarian states resulted in the formation of the nation-
state and its internal as well as external divisions directly related to competition over
wealth, resources and socio-economic advantage.
A particularly important implication of this argument, emphasising the mutual
complementarity between the perennialist and modernist stances, is that it
Archaeology, Society and Identity 24

Figure 2.1 Circularity and paradox of the nation-state and the solution (masking and

effectively reveals that the relationship between the nation-state and the discourse
supporting/legitimising/authenticating its existence is characterised by vicious cir-
cularity and paradox: a nation-state is underpinned by a tradition/ethnic identity as the
latter is articulated through the formation of the former. The search for a language, phys-
ical traits, cultural characteristics, and so on, which were supposed to indicate the
antiquity of the unity/uni¬ed existence of a nation, began either when a modern
industrial state was formed or when the formation of a modern state gave rise to
the socio-economic/cultural impoverishment of its own internal minority or of one
of its neighbouring populations (Gellner 1983), although, it has to be noted, the
way those traits were rediscovered/invented and mobilised was different between
countries/contexts (Hobsbawm 1990, Chapter 2). It is important to add here, by
referring again to Gellner, that the articulation of a socio-economically/culturally
impoverished population took place (and is still taking place) when industrialisation
put a population with either a minority language or distinct physical/cultural char-
acteristics or both in a disadvantaged position in the labour market (Gellner 1983,
Chapter 6). At that point, the articulation of nationalist sentiments is intrinsically
connected to industrialisation, a main constitutive element of modernity.
Coming back to our main argument here, the above-mentioned circularity and
paradox, it can logically be deduced, need to be dealt with, i.e., masked or de-
paradoxised, for the integration of individual nation-states, particularly in their
infancy (Figure 2.1). It was the authenticity of a cultural group sharing a collec-
tive memory of common ancestry, culture, language and so on, i.e., an ethnie in
Anthony Smith™s terminology (1986), that was supposed to be based upon its con-
tinuation from a particular point in history, which was often claimed to go back
to the deepest past, that was imagined and/or created for the purpose of masking
and de-paradoxising circularity and paradox associated with the discursive base of
the nation-state (Figure 2.1) (Anderson 1991). By arti¬cially adding time-depth to
Modernity and archaeology 25

a synchronic entity, the authenticity of the ethnie is (re)gained and the circularity
and paradox ˜solved™ (or, in actuality, forgotten); the invented continuity of an ethnie
is made to serve as the cause and reason for the existence of a nation-state at the
same time. It has to be added that in this case the word ˜invented™ is interchangeable
with ˜articulated™ or ˜problematised.™ As mentioned, quite often a nation-state was
built upon a pre-existing cultural unit of some sort as Smith emphasises (1986).
In that sense what happened when a nation-state emerged was not necessarily pure
invention. However, it is equally often the case that a nation-state was built upon
an intentionally chosen shared cultural trait amongst other unshared, often divisive,
equivalents distributed within the domain, and the choice was often made for stra-
tegic purposes (Hobsbawm 1990, Chapter 2). Besides, such a culture/cultural trait
was often only possessed and shared by a particular class, most often by the elite
(Gellner 1983, Chapter 2): underneath the layer of such a culture/cultural traits
were a number of local habits that formed an internally heterogeneous agrarian state
bound by an elite culture (Gellner 1983). In order for a culture/cultural trait to be
a factor upon which a nation-state was to be built, that trait had to be reinvented
as a shareable, unifying, and homogenising factor to a group of people regardless of
their class, or religious, and local-group af¬liations.
As the notion of continuity, in other words the temporal extension of an inter-
nally homogeneous entity into the depths of time, helps to hide the ¬ctive element
of the nation-state, a modern nation-state as a self-reproducing entity, as already
touched upon above, is also made possible by its internal homogeneity. Note the
circularity which exists between these factors; only something which can be recog-
nised as a unit, internally organically structured/homogeneous, can continuously exist
through time, as at the same time, in the case we are dealing with, that very conti-
nuity serves to show the entity™s unity as a unit. As mentioned above, what actually
underpins the internal homogeneity of a modern nation-state varies; a currency, a
legal system, an ethnicity, a religion, and so on, function to make and keep those
who live within the boundary of a modern nation-state homogeneous. To be more
precise, these items/media and institutions make those who live within the bound-
ary of a modern nation-state see/observe themselves as homogeneous. To put it
differently, in order for a currency, a legal system, and so on to function properly,
those who live in the domain within which these media (of social communication)
function have to be homogeneous. Note, again, the circularity which exists between
these factors; (x) these media of social communication work as such because those
whose communication is mediated by them are homogeneous, i.e., they all agree that
these are the media of their social communication, and (y) those who use these media
of social communication are homogeneous because they use them as the media of
their social communication.
In order to properly grasp the nature of this circularity, we have to introduce,
again, the concept of citizenship: those who live in the domain of a nation-state
have to be citizens. By stating this I mean that citizens have to be made to identify
themselves not with their concrete, shared experience and local knowledge but with
something abstract, such as money; money transcends all sorts of barriers (within
Archaeology, Society and Identity 26

a nation-state), but most importantly time“space, and signi¬es value but itself has
no use/value.1 In that sense, a nation-state and its ˜homogenising media™ mutually
mediate their existence.
Here again we encounter circularity and paradox. The internal homogeneity of a
modern nation-state is constituted and underpinned by the existence of ˜homogenis-
ing media™ such as above. At the same time, the working of the homogenising media
of a modern nation-state relies upon its internal homogeneity. How, then, can the
circularity and paradox be logically solved, i.e., de-paradoxised? Let us consider
the issue by examining the way homogenising media such as money mediate the
communication of citizens.
Homogenising media mediate communication between the citizens in a manner
which is totally irrelevant to any group af¬liation such as class, religion and local
group (cf. Luhmann 1995, 161“163). However, this does not mean that the selves of
all the citizens are homogeneous; on the contrary, the existence of these homogenis-
ing media allows every citizen to be different from one another; they are meant to be
relieved from the communal, hence localised, pressure of being the same. All of the
constitutive elements of modernity, i.e., industrialisation, rationalisation, commod-
i¬cation, bureaucratisation, citizenship, deconstruction of kinship/local ties, secu-
larisation, and institutional segmentation, come together and mediate/enable/make
inevitable the autonomy of the individual/self. This, at the same time, means that the
communication systems which used to rely on the sharing of local knowledge/norms
are faced with unprecedented dif¬culty in their reproduction. It means that all the
selves constituting a nation-state have to be made to feel able to communicate with
one another, in spite of their mutually predicted differences, and in order for that to
be achieved, the citizens have to be made to assume that they all share a set of values,
norms, and so on that do not derive from shared and accumulated local knowledge
and experiences but come out of something more deep-rooted, abstract, and de-
localised (within the domain of the nation-state). Sharing such a thing means that
they share the ultimate, uni¬ed referent for their self identi¬cation. By ˜ultimate™
here I mean, by drawing upon the argument so far, that the referent accommo-
dates two mutually contradictory natures of being delocalised/abstract and being

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