. 4
( 6)


of the emperor system, our attention is naturally drawn to the contrast between the
current status of the emperor (and imperial family) and that before the end of the
Second World War.
The amended drawing seems to depict the idealised relationship between the
emperor and his subjects: the emperor as the authoritative but affectionate father-
¬gure of the subject and the nation before the end of the Second World War, in
contrast with the emperor as ˜the symbol of the unity of the nation™ as stated in
the new constitution founded just after the end of the Second World War. It is quite
striking, as illustrated in Chapter 4.2, that the image and function of the emperor and
his family, the existence of which was blamed as the deepest cause of the devastation
Archaeology, Society and Identity 98

of the Second World War, remained structurally almost intact long after the war.
However, what is more striking is that it seems to be the case that the system of images
and role models for all categories of the subject, originally created in the formative
period of the Japanese modern nation-state in organic association with the creation
of the aforementioned image of the emperor, symbolised by the metaphorical unity
between the emperor and the national-body (˜Koku-tai™), appears to be still alive and
kicking in the mind of the committee which ordered the amendment and, hence, the
In the Meiji constitution, which was replaced with the current one just after the
Second World War, the exclusive right of control over family properties and other
matters concerning the life-course of family members was legally guaranteed to
belong to the head of the house (Ka(house)-cho(chief)), i.e., the father, who was
commonly the eldest son of the family of the previous generation. This was accom-
panied by the quite arti¬cial formation of speci¬c role norms/models for other mem-
bers of the family: the wife as faithful and obedient, the daughter to strive to be like
her mother, and the son to be like his father and a good soldier willing to sacri¬ce
his life for the emperor and the nation. One aim of the projects was to transform
the feudal state into a nation-state with the ability to compete against colonial pow-
ers, having already colonised regions surrounding the archipelago (see Chapters
2 and 4.2). To make the family unit stable and clearly de¬ned in order to secure
a constant supply of soldiers as well as tax revenue was one of the most important
tasks the ¬rst modern government of Japan (the Meiji administration which replaced
the Tokugawa feudal government) had to accomplish. An image of the patriarchal
family consisting of the affectionate but strong and strict father, the obedient and
supportive wife/mother and healthy and obedient children was promoted in order to
create the ˜modern™ Japanese family for the ˜modern™ nation-state by using as wide-
ranging media as possible, including school textbooks. And, above all, the image
of the emperor Meiji, the ¬rst emperor, hence the most signi¬cant symbolic capital
available to the legislator, of the modern Japanese nation state, was promoted as the
father of the nation: the family was made the mirror image of the state, and the state
was made the mirror image of the family (Taki 1988).
It has turned out that the whole picture symbolised by the amended version of the
picture is as if we are still haunted by the ghost of the political ideology of the pre-
Second World War era. What is interesting here, though, is that we feel we no longer
live in conditions in which the promotion of an image like this has any pragmatic
effect upon the way we live our lives. As brie¬‚y mentioned in Chapter 2.3 and
fully elucidated in the next chapter, we live in late-/mature modernity, i.e., a society
characterised by functionally differentiated social systems, in which the indetermi-
nacy and paradox of communication can no longer be solved/de-paradoxised by
referring to the transcendental such as the emperor. In such conditions, it is quite
unlikely that the desire of the committee and the legislator can be ful¬lled: their
desire is not only detached from the reality of contemporary society, a society lacking
the transcendental, but may also be exposed to harsher relativisation and cynicism
because of its relying on the old strategy for reintegrating fragmented communication
Nation-state, circularity and paradox 99

¬elds, which looks not only outdated but even ridiculous. Then what is the point of
sticking to the image?
Exactly the same problem can be pointed out in the original drawing. The inten-
tions behind the original version of the drawing, which can be assumed to be found
where the drawing contradicts the available evidence just as in the case of the
amended version, can be relatively easily detected by referring to what has been
revealed above: why did those who walk down the road have to look arrogant and
attired differently from those who kneel down at the roadside, contradicting the
description of Weizhi?
It appears that the relationship between those who walk down the road and those
who kneel at the roadside, i.e., the relationship between the dominant and the sub-
ordinate, had to be depicted as antagonistic rather than affectionate and respectful.
Why should it be depicted this way? The reason appears to lie in the discursive space
in which the mind-set of those who were involved in the act of amendment were
caught up.
Immediately after the end of the Second World War, one of the most important
objectives set up by historians (including archaeologists) deriving from the experi-
ence of the devastation of the war was to deconstruct the ¬rmly embedded mind-
set which unconditionally accepted the transcendental status of the notion of the
national body and the emperor system as its embodiment (see Chapter 4.2). When
the Meiji state was founded back in the late nineteenth century, what was formulated
as the ideal model for the newborn nation was what can be described as a modi¬ed
Asiatic-despotic model; the paramount chief (=the emperor) is the paramount patri-
arch of the patriarchal communities constituting an Asiatic state. The paramount
chief is, in that sense, perceived as the father of the nation, and his will unconsciously
represents the will of the nation. The notion of the individual as the independent,
active and creative ˜self™ does not exist. The destiny of the state symbolised and
embodied by the destiny of the paramount chief is the destiny of everyone, and their
hope can only be accomplished through the mediation of the chief. In this organic
relationship between the dominant and the subordinate, which is suitably captured
by the notion of the Koku(nation)-tai(body)=national body (see Chapter 3), the
conceptual boundary which divides individual bodies and minds is blurred: it is an
extreme form of mutual affection.
The blurring of individuality and the effective denial of the individual as the active
agent were exactly what were felt by intellectuals to be the cause of the devastation of
the Second World War. Unless this iron cage of the episteme of ultimate dominance
over the mind and body of the nation was deconstructed, ˜progressive™, socialist-
Marxist historians (including some archaeologists, see Chapter 4.2) believed that
Japan as a nation-state would never be fully modernised and would go down the
path to yet another devastating war. In the domain of historical and archaeological
studies, this belief took shape in the debate about the emergence and transformation
of despotism in general and the timing and mechanism of the emergence of an
antagonistic relationship between the dominant and subordinate ˜classes™ in particular
(eg. Rekishi-gaku kenkyu-kai 1951, 11“28).
Archaeology, Society and Identity 100

The debate was motivated to deconstruct the belief that the relationship between
the emperor and the subject, since the moment the emperor emerged, had always
been one of affection and voluntary respect. Regardless of whether the ancient
Japanese state was de¬ned as an Asiatic-despotic state or otherwise, as far as Marxist
doctrine was concerned, the social relations characterising any state were antagonis-
tic between the dominant and the subordinate classes. In that sense, the relationship
between the emperor and his subject, since the foundation of the Japanese ancient
state, had never been what could be characterised as organic mutual affection and
respect but had always been what could be characterised as disguised antagonism. And
this appears to be exactly what the original tried to depict, as far as our investigation
so far is concerned.
Interestingly enough, however, and contrary to what the original drawing appears
to be trying to depict, the transitional phase between the Yayoi and the Kofun
(mounded tomb) periods, the time of the Yamatai-koku polity, commonly and even
by ˜Marxist™ historians and archaeologists, was not interpreted as the phase which
witnessed the rise of this antagonism. Rather, the thesis that the relationship between
the chief and the subordinate had been strati¬ed but remained tied through kin-based
corporate bondage was put forward and became subject to a lively scholastic debate
during the late 1940s and 1950s (cf. Hara 1972, 396“408). This thesis argued that
the chief behaved as the heroic leader of the corporate group throughout the early
part of the Kofun period (Hara 1972). What motivated the debate was an interest
in the process and mechanism of transformation from a truly organic, affectionate
relationship between the chief and his subject based upon kin ties, to an antagonis-
tic, oppressive one under the disguise of continuing mutual affection and kin-based
bondage. Since then, the timing of the establishment of the ancient Japanese state
has been constantly debated, but the dominant trend in the study of Japanese his-
tory has consistently designated it as after the end of the Kofun period (cf. Hara
1972). (In that regard, it is intriguing that the thesis designating the establishment
of the ancient Japanese state as at the beginning of the Kofun period enjoys a certain
support in archaeology. We shall investigate what is behind this phenomenon in the
next section.)
Despite that, the scholars involved in the creation of the original apparently tried to
depict the Yayoi“Kofun transitional phase as the time when the relationship between
the chief and his subjects had already become highly hierarchised and antagonistic
by ignoring the general trend. This is revealed in a much bolder manner in another
textbook drawing (Figure 4.10). Here, we can recognise an amendment intending
exactly the same thing as we saw in the previous drawing: the bow which the subor-
dinate standing off the road made to the dominant walking down the road is made
shallower in the amended version. We can infer from this that the dispute over the
reconstruction of the society of the time is identical to what we investigated. How-
ever, there is another amendment which is, at ¬rst glance, dif¬cult to make sense of.
In the original, there is a ¬gure walking away from the scene behind those walking
down the road (Figure 4.10). In the amended version, however, this ¬gure is erased
(Figure 4.10). This ¬gure is so obscure that it is unlikely that a student could spot
Nation-state, circularity and paradox 101

Figure 4.10 Mysterious elimination of a ¬gure from a textbook drawing (originally in Osaka Shoseki
1991, featured in Teshigawara 1991, by kind permission of Osaka Shoseki, June 2005).

its erasure without instruction even if the original and the amended were put side
by side. This suggests that the amendment was related to matter deeply connected
to the mentality and identity of those who were involved in the amendment.
If we situate this rather mysterious amendment in the dispute over the relationship
between the dominant and the subordinate, interpreted to metaphorically represent
that between the emperor and the subject, we can make sense of what is behind
it. The ¬gure erased in the amended version is walking away from the scene where
the relation of either domination and subordination or affection and respect is being
played out. This ¬eld of the reproduction of a particular mode of social relations
is made possible by the gaze of those who are walking down the road; regardless
of whether they are affectionate leader ¬gures or not, their gaze makes those who
happen to be on the roadside stop doing what they were doing and bow to them.
If the nature of the relationship is that of mutual affection and respect, even if it
were ignited by the gaze of the beloved leader ¬gures, the respect would always be
in the mind of the subordinate. However, if the relationship were one of antagonistic
domination and subordination, as soon as the gaze was withdrawn, the subordinates
would immediately stop showing false respect and go back to what they were doing.
This, I would argue, is what those who were involved in the amendment feared:
they can be inferred to have feared to have the drawing interpreted that way. And,
considering that the meaning of why this ¬gure has to be here in the original is also
very dif¬cult to make sense of, the intention of the producers of the original to put
this ¬gure here can be inferred to have made the relationship between those who
were walking down the road and those who bowed on the roadside appear to be
antagonistic; the affection from the subordinate to the dominant was so arti¬cial
that the former walked off as soon as they escaped the gaze of the latter.
Archaeology, Society and Identity 102

Enduring dichotomies
To sum up, both those who were involved in the creation of the drawing and those
who were involved in its amendment attempted to invent rather than reconstruct the
image of the past, in a way which re¬‚ected their desire for the future in a rather
complex manner. Their motive in doing this, I would argue by referring to some
characteristics of classical modernity illustrated earlier in this section, derived from
the belief that society could be engineered in a certain direction, and that the engi-
neering could be conducted through the disciplining of the unenlightened within the
society. Education was obviously the most effective means with which to accomplish
this. Through education, the nation would be transformed from the unenlightened,
a mere object controlled by the elite, to the enlightened, subject to voluntarily ful¬l
their duty to the state (cf. Fujitani 1994, Chapter 1).
The belief that creating an image of the past which re¬‚ects one™s desire for the
future can do something to engineer the present always and inevitably implies that
the moment in the past which is depicted in the image was the moment when some-
thing which one wants to praise/accuse either emerged from, or was already in action.
Besides, in order to enlighten the unenlightened, it is desirable that the past appears
the ˜same™, i.e., something which can be made sense of, because otherwise the unen-
lightened cannot understand what the past means to them by comparing what the
past was like with their own experience in the present. Against such backgrounds, the
past was depicted by those who were involved in the amendment as the ideal image
for the present and the future, and by those who were involved in the production
of the original as the time when the evil which led to the devastation of the Second
World War had emerged.
This dichotomy, being for or against the emperor system, as illustrated in the
previous section, originated in the aftermath of the Second World War. Defeat in
the Second World War and the devastation which it brought resulted in a crisis in the
reproduction of self identity for most Japanese. What they had believed to be right
and identi¬ed themselves with collapsed overnight. This ˜spiritual vacuum™ had to
be ¬lled quickly by something else, and the US-led allied forces occupying the land,
as well as the Japanese elite and intellectuals, knew it (Kan 2001, Chapter 5). That
constituted the background against which the emperor system and allied structuring
principles of the general discursive space of Japan were carefully protected with a
minor, almost cosmetic change in the vocabulary used to describe them (Kan 2001).
Mixed feelings towards this necessary compromise have been the backbone of the
enduring dichotomy along which the dichotomies structuring the reproduction of
various communication systems, such as right versus left in the political communi-
cation system and conservative versus progressive in the educational communication
system, are formed (see Figure 4.5).
This ˜fundamental dichotomy™ of post-Second World War Japan has, until recently,
been functioning as an iron cage in which virtually every discursive formation is
locked up. Chapter 4.4 will explore the interior of that iron cage by examining the
way the archaeological study of the Yayoi“Kofun transitional phase, the time period
of the Yamatai-koku polity, has been studied.
Nation-state, circularity and paradox 103

4.4 The invisible iron cage: Kofun (mounded tomb) archaeology and the
narrative of continuity and homogeneity
The positionality of Kofun archaeology
The study of the Kofun (mounded tomb) period, between circa the late third cen-
tury and the sixth century AD, occupies a unique position in the discursive space of
Japanese archaeology. The keyhole-shaped tumuli, the feature by which the period
is de¬ned (cf. Kondo 1983), are often monumental in their scale and dominate the
sphere of the visual representation of not only the archaeology of the period but
also of Japanese archaeology in general, often in the form of bird™s eye view plans
of its largest examples (Figure 4.1). Many of them are designated as ˜imperial mau-
solea™, i.e., the resting places of the supposed direct ancestors of the present imperial
family, and taken care of by the imperial household agency (˜ku(palace)nai(interior)-
As a category of archaeological material, the keyhole-shaped tumulus has a distinct
characteristic: each tumulus can be treated as a sort of a macro-context, and the ¬nds
and the features can be treated as forming an assemblage. (Although, of course, a
tumulus was sometimes reused for further burials and other activities and might yield
artefacts from more than one archaeo-chronological stage.) Accordingly, individual
¬nds and features have been subject to intensive typo-chronological and stylistic
investigations, and their chronological positions and techno-cultural provenances
have been investigated to an ever-increasing extent (e.g. Kondo 1991).
The combination of those traits/characteristics of the main material of the Kofun
archaeology, the keyhole-shaped tumulus, constitutes a signi¬cant structuring prin-
ciple of the discourse of the Kofun period. A strong emphasis on typological sequenc-
ing and the construction and elaboration of the chronological system of various items
ranging from portable artefacts to the earthen mounds makes the main objective of
the study of the period the uncovering of continuity, i.e., gradual change in the techno-
stylistic traits of such individual items, as a necessary prerequisite to classifying the
items into chronological types and temporal units (Kondo 1991).
The pursuit of continuity, however, is not con¬ned to the sphere of chronology
building. That many of the largest examples of the keyhole-shaped tumulus are des-
ignated by the imperial household agency as ˜imperial mausolea™ and are regarded
by archaeologists as the tombs of the paramount chieftains, i.e., the ancient emper-
ors (described as Okimi or Daio, the latter being the customary way archaeologists
describe them), means that the reconstruction of the sequential order of the largest
keyhole-shaped tumuli of the present-day Kinki region of central Japan, particularly
of the Nara basin and the Kawachi plain (described as the ˜Kinki core region™ here-
after), is the reconstruction of their materialised genealogy. Here, again, continuity,
i.e., the continuous line of the unilinear descent10 of the paramount chieftainship, is
the presupposition of the study. In summary, both the methodological requirement
and the inevitable connection to the study of the ancient emperors make the pursuit

10 Whether the system of unilinear descent was practised at the time remains the subject of dispute (see
Chapter 4.3), and we shall come back to the issue later.
Archaeology, Society and Identity 104

of continuity a norm/structuring principle of Kofun archaeology as a communication
We have to remind ourselves that the above-mentioned structuring principle of
the Kofun archaeology, namely the pursuit of continuity, is ¬rmly connected to the
main theme of post-Second World War Japanese archaeology, to trace the origin of
the source of the ills of pre-Second World War Japan which brought devastation and
suffering to the nation, i.e., tracing the origin of the imperial family, as illustrated in
Chapter 4.2. In that sense, Kofun archaeology has functioned as a critical discourse
of Japan as a modern nation-state. Meanwhile, as the following will illustrate, Kofun
archaeology as a communication system has been, and still is, locked up in the
paradox: Kofun archaeology as a critique of the emperor system contributes, though
negatively, to the constitution and maintenance of the binary code with which the
discourse of the emperor system itself is reproduced, and upon which the discourse
survives, the binary code being genealogical continuity from the beginning of history
versus genealogical discontinuity.
What follows will try to illustrate the fateful paradox of the self-referential repro-
duction of a communication system in modernity. In contrast to the communication
systems of hierarchical differentiation (i.e., pre-modern social formations, see Chap-
ter 3.6), which can de-paradoxise themselves by referring to hierarchically organised
values and norms such as religious doctrines, class-based virtue/codes of conduct,
and so on, the communication systems of functionally differentiated society can only
de-paradoxise themselves by randomly referring to other communication systems
(i.e., what one utters is recognised as right when referring to what is going on in one
particular domain of society, but recognised as wrong when referring to another).
In other words, once the relation of mutual de-paradoxisation was formed between
two communication systems, they would not be able to be genuinely critical of one
another because a critical discourse can only be made possible by the existence of what it
criticises. The relationship between Kofun archaeology and the emperor system is an
example of this paradox. What follows is an attempt to reveal the relation of mutual
mediation/de-paradoxisation between the discourse of the emperor system and that
of Kofun archaeology.

The origin of the keyhole-shaped tumulus, the origin of the imperial genealogy?
The study of the origin of the keyhole-shaped tumulus, which is de¬ned as marking
the beginning of the Kofun period, typically shows the characteristics of the discourse
of Kofun archaeology described above: the pursuit of origin and continuity.
If the origin of the keyhole-shaped tumulus and the beginning of the Kofun period
marked the beginning of the continuity, i.e., the continuity of the line of the unilin-
ear descent of the paramount and regional chieftainship, both (a) the domination of
the paramount chieftainship over the regional chieftainship and (b) the system of the
unilinear descent of the chie¬‚y status, would have had to have been established at or
before that ˜point of origin™ (Mizoguchi 2000a). Accordingly, these factors, i.e., fac-
tors (a) and (b) above, have been treated not as hypotheses to be veri¬ed/falsi¬ed but
as prerequisites for study (Mizoguchi 2000a). In other words, materials are recognised
Nation-state, circularity and paradox 105

as the constitutive elements of the communication system of Kofun archaeology, i.e.,
recognised as relevant to the discourse of Kofun archaeology, should they ¬t into
the picture deriving from these prerequisites. Those materials which cannot be ¬tted
into the picture tend to be ignored. Let us begin by examining the way the process
towards the beginning of the Kofun period has been studied.
Mortuary studies have not only played a crucial role in the study but also well
exemplify the trend. In order to illustrate the case, we have to begin by examining the
way the period before the beginning of the Kofun period, i.e., the Yayoi period, has
been studied. The study of the mortuary practices of the Yayoi period (c. 400/500
BC to AD 250/275), which witnessed the systematic introduction of rice paddy-
¬eld agriculture from the Korean peninsula and the subsequent increase of social
complexity, has been conducted to reveal the process of social hierarchisation, on
both intra- and inter-regional polity levels, towards its completion, which is regarded
as having been marked by the emergence of the keyhole-shaped tumulus, its allied
mortuary ritual package, and their spread throughout western Japan and parts of
eastern Japan (e.g. Kondo 1983, Chapter 7). The emergence of the keyhole-shaped
tumulus is regarded as having marked both the establishment of the unilinear male-
line descent of chieftainship and the establishment of the domination of the polity of
the Kinki core region over the regional polities throughout eastern and some parts
of western Japan (Kobayashi 1961, Chapter 4, esp. p. 145). Let me illustrate these
points by looking into two exemplary case studies.
Hiroaki Takakura studied the temporal changes in the cemetery spatial structure of
the northern Kyushu region, regarded as one of the core regions of Yayoi social evo-
lution, with the assumption that they re¬‚ect changes in social organisation towards
the establishment of social hierarchy at the intra-regional polity level (1973).
Takakura recognised the following trends in the temporal changes in intra-
cemetery spatial structure and inter-cemetery relations.

(1) Both the number of burial groups (clusters of graves) constituting a cemetery and
the number of graves constituting individual burial groups decreased through
(2) The gap between the burial groups constituting a cemetery and that between
the burials constituting a burial group in terms of the quality and quantity of the
grave goods and the size and structural sophistication of the mortuary facilities
widened through time.
(3) The gap between the cemeteries in a regional unit in terms of the quality and
quantity of grave goods and the size and structural sophistication of mortuary
facilities widened through time.

Takakura suggests that these trends were associated with the following changes in
social organisation.

(a) A number of extended family-scale groups (lineages/clan-segment scale groups:
the reading of the present author) would have been integrated to form a cor-
porate unit undertaking the cultivation of a unit of rice paddies. Through the
Archaeology, Society and Identity 106

undertaking of communal labour organised by such a corporate unit, the lead-
ership necessary for the coordination of work would have emerged. The neces-
sity for negotiations with neighbouring corporate units concerning a range of
matters, including occasional collaboration over the maintenance of irrigation
facilities for paddy ¬elds and the exchange of goods and people, would also have
necessitated the establishment of such leadership, and the relationship between
the extended-family scale groups constituting a corporate unit would also have
become hierarchised as the group to which the leader belonged became domi-
nant over other groups.
(b) Various factors concerning rice agriculture, such as accessibility to a water
source, soil conditions, and so on, together with other factors such as accessibil-
ity to exchange networks and degree of success in accumulating wealth through
manipulating exchange systems, would have generated and widened the gap
between these corporate units.
(c) Stimulated by factors (a) and (b), the individual extended-family scale
groups(/lineages, although Takakura himself does not use the term and con-
cept) constituting a corporate unit became internally divided (disintegrated)
into smaller units and their relationship hierarchised.

The trends observable in the transformation of the cemetery spatial structure (1)“
(3), Takakura inferred, re¬‚ect the progression of trends (a)“(c), which led to the
gradual erosion and eventual destruction of communal egalitarianism and the mode
of social integration based upon it: mediatorship, necessitated by an increasing social
complexity resulting from the maturation of rice paddy-¬eld agriculture-based social
organisation, initially took the form of communal, ¬rst-amongst-equal type, leaders.
However, their status was gradually consolidated and led to the strati¬cation of social
relations in the form of intra- and inter-communal social strati¬cation and the asso-
ciated destruction of the corporate ties internally binding such communal units as
lineages and clans. This multilayered process, Takakura contended, ¬nally reached
the point around the end of the Yayoi period/the beginning of the Kofun period
when both the chieftainship of a regional polity of ¬‚oodplain scale and the chief-
tainship presiding over a number of such ¬‚oodplain-scale polities were established
and the chieftainship also became monopolised by a particular lineage/household
and inherited by its members. In all, Takakura™s work traced the process toward
the establishment/origin of the unilinear descent of the chieftainship on a regional
(¬‚oodplain-scale) polity scale.
Hideji Harunari, by assuming that the spatial structure of a cemetery re¬‚ects the
organisation of a corporate group as Takakura did, tried to reconstruct the post-
marital residential patterns of the Yayoi period by analysing intra-cemetery spatial
structure in terms of who was buried where (1984, 1985). His work exempli¬es the
tradition which presupposes that the establishment of unilinear male-line descent
coincided with the establishment of centralised power and that of authority covering
western Japan and parts of eastern Japan, i.e., the beginning of the Kofun period
(cf. Kobayashi 1961, Chapter 4), and attempts to detect where the process towards
Nation-state, circularity and paradox 107

it progressed most smoothly and rapidly by studying the transformation of the spatial
structure of the Yayoi cemetery.
The assumption is that the area where the system of unilinear male-line descent
had been established ¬rst coincided with the centre of the spatial extension of the
social integration re¬‚ected by the distributional horizon of the earliest keyhole-
shaped tumuli, i.e., the present-day Kansai region (See Yukio Kobayashi™s articles
for the earliest examples of work based upon the above-mentioned assumption, col-
lected in Kobayashi 1961).
Harunari examined the sex and age of the deceased and where and how they
were buried in individual rectangular mortuary compounds (hokei-shuko-bo). He
described the Kansai region, where the keyhole-shaped tumulus is thought to have
emerged and where, hence, it is widely regarded to have been the centre of a newly
established system of integration of a wide area including the northern Kyushu, the
Inland Sea, the San™in (Japan Sea coast) and Kinki regions. He pointed out that
the custom of burying an adult male and an adult female side-by-side in a square-
compounded burial group was widespread in the Middle Yayoi period and inferred
that they were the wife and husband of individual household units (Harunari 1985).
From the fact that hierarchical differences appeared to exist between the square-
compounded burial groups and ¬‚at graves without markers of spatial segregation,
often coexisting together in a cemetery, he contended that those who were buried
in the former were members of higher-ranked patriarchal households and the others
were members of lower-ranked households. By referring to the fact that mortuary
square compounds with single burials situated at their centre in the Late Yayoi period
emerged in the same region, he argued that the system of unilinear male-line descent
had been established by the Late Yayoi period in the Kansai region: the male who was
buried at the centre of a square mortuary compound of the Late Yayoi, Harunari
infers, was the patriarch of the dominant patriarchal household of an internally
disintegrating corporate group.
In contrast, he argued, the social organisation of the northern Kyushu region as
a core region of the Yayoi social evolution, as far as the kin organisation inferred
from the cemetery spatial structure is concerned, remained based upon the system
of bilinear/bilateral descent. This system would have prevented a hierarchical social
structure from consolidating because the inheritance/line of descent of a social status
and property would have been unstable and would have prevented the accumulation
of wealth by a particular household. (I do not examine the validity of this inference
itself here.)
From these factors and inferences, Harunari concluded that the Kansai region,
where the system of unilinear male-line descent had been established earlier than
other core regions of the Yayoi period, had achieved integration and internal hier-
archisation of the polity ¬rst, and gained a dominant position over other polities
across western Japan and parts of eastern Japan.
Despite their super¬cial differences, these studies, exemplifying the two dominant
approaches to Yayoi mortuary practices and social organisation, share a fundamental
trait, which is to presuppose that the beginning of the Kofun period and the emer-
gence of the keyhole-shaped tumulus marked the goal of an evolutionary process.
Archaeology, Society and Identity 108

This process is regarded as having been constituted by two interdependent spheres:
(a) the process of increasing social complexity and hierarchisation (investigated by
Takakura); and (b) the process towards the establishment of the system of unilinear
male-line descent (investigated by Harunari).
However, some evidence which contradicts the above-illustrated ¬ndings and
inferences can easily be found. (We shall come back to the implication of the issue
of this ˜easiness™, i.e., why such obvious faults have been overlooked, later on.) Let
us begin by examining Harunari™s model.
The core contention of Harunari™s thesis is that the system of unilinear male-line
descent had been established in the Kinki region earlier than other core regions
of Yayoi social evolution. That made the chieftains of the Kinki region able to
establish their domination over the latter and form the foundation upon which the
inter-regional hierarchy, the establishment of which is supposed to have marked the
beginning of the Kofun period, was based. However, the available data, the mortuary
evidence in particular, suggest the contrary: as far as the contents of the burial of
the deceased in individual compound burial groups is concerned, the core regions
of Yayoi social evolution throughout western Japan appear to have actually become
homogeneous around the later half of the Late Yayoi period (Kondo 1983): as brie¬‚y
illustrated in the previous section, the combination of around four or ¬ve adults,
both male and female, with a couple of infants, constitutes the commonest content
of the graves in the compound burial groups of the Late Yayoi period throughout
western Japan, including northern Kyushu, the Inland Sea coast, San™in (Japan Sea
coast), and Kinki regions (Figure 4.11) (Mizoguchi 2000b), and the deceased can
be inferred to have been members of a chie¬‚y lineage or a chie¬‚y segment of the
dominant clan of a regional polity (Tanaka 2000; Mizoguchi 2001).
Besides, the thesis has another serious problem: did the emergence of the
segregated resting places for the members of individual chie¬‚y lineages, in the form
of the compound cemeteries, re¬‚ect the establishment of a system of unilinear
male-line descent? Both Takakura and Harunari, as illustrated above, advocate
this idea. According to the outcome of Yoshiyuki Tanaka™s osteoarchaeological
reconstruction of the kin relations among the deceased of some compound burial
groups from the Late Yayoi period and the Early Kofun period (Tanaka 1995),
though, the adult males and females buried together in individual compound burial
groups and in individual burial facilities were not husbands and wives but probably
brothers and sisters (Tanaka 1995). Based upon this observation, Tanaka infers
that the chie¬‚y family, whose eldest son had the exclusive right to be the chief of
a clan-type corporate group, was not fully established at the time; it is more likely
that the chieftain of a clan was chosen from the male and female members of the
dominant household/lineage (Tanaka 1995). In all, Tanaka™s study suggests that
the system of unilinear male-line descent had not been established at the transition
between the Yayoi and Kofun periods.
These observations show that the Kinki core region did not enjoy the advantage
over the other regions of establishing the system of unilinear male-line descent earlier
than other core regions of Yayoi social evolution. Besides, it turns out that the system
Nation-state, circularity and paradox 109


Figure 4.11 Compound burial groups of the Late Yayoi period in western Japan: (a) Mikumo-Teraguchi,
Fukuoka Prefecture, Kyushu region (Fukuoka PBE 1983). Key: C: cist, J: burial jar, R: ritual pit.
(b) Chusenji tumulus No. 9, Shimane Prefecture, the San™in (western Japan sea coastal) region (Kondo
1972). Key: WCBs: wooden cof¬n burials. (c) Akasaka-Imai, Kyoto Prefecture, the Tango (mid Japan
sea coastal) region (Mineyama TBE 2001). Hatched rectangles represent grave pits.

of unilinear male-line descent had not been established anywhere in the archipelago
at the time. Rather, the situation just before the beginning of the Kofun period
in terms of the system of descent/kin organisation and mortuary practices as their
representation was one of homogenisation throughout the wider area later to become
almost covered by the distributional horizon of the earliest keyhole-shaped tumuli,
i.e., the northern Kyushu, Inland Sea, San™in (the Japan Sea coast), and Kinki regions
(Figure 4.11). In terms of social strati¬cation in individual areas within the horizon,
it can be said that a chie¬‚y lineage emerged in individual clans, and the relationship
between the clans occupying individual ¬‚oodplain-scale units would have been one
Archaeology, Society and Identity 110


Figure 4.11 (Cont.)
Nation-state, circularity and paradox 111


Figure 4.11 (Cont.)
Archaeology, Society and Identity 112

of ongoing competition (Mizoguchi 2000b): differences in the quality and quantity
of grave goods can be seen between the compound burials in individual ¬‚oodplain-
scale units, and that would have re¬‚ected the deepening hierarchisation of inter-clan
relationships, but they appear to have often ¬‚uctuated through time. It is often the
case that the distribution of the earliest keyhole-shaped tumuli of the area did not
coincide with that of the rich compound burials of the previous, i.e., the Late Yayoi,
period (cf. Mizoguchi 2000b). It appears that the relationship between neighbouring
¬‚oodplain-scale units also underwent the same process of competition, probably
over access to long-distance exchange networks which were being abruptly formed
(e.g. Mizoguchi 2000b). Through this competitive process, it seems that larger units
of integration, each of which consisted of several ¬‚oodplain-scale units, gradually
emerged throughout the horizon.
The relationship between such larger units of integration appears to have also been
one of competition over the exchange of goods and raw materials. It has been strongly
contended that the polities of the Kinki core region, the present-day Nara basin and
Kawachi plain in particular, secured control over the importation of iron source
materials from the Korean peninsula, and that served as an important base upon
which the dominance of those polities over other polities throughout the horizon
was established (e.g. Tsude 1998). However, progress recently made in the study
of iron production technology, the distribution of iron tools, and the process of the
replacement of stone equivalents by iron tools has falsi¬ed this thesis: in terms of
these factors, the northern Kyushu region remained the most advanced throughout
the Late Yayoi period, and the Kansai region was the least advanced amongst the
regions constituting the distributional horizon of the earliest keyhole-shaped tumuli
(cf. Murakami 2000). This strongly suggests that the distributional horizon of the
earliest keyhole-shaped tumuli came into being in the midst of ongoing inter-group
competition at various levels, contrary to the above-illustrated, widely held thesis
that the distributional horizon came into being as a consequence of the completion to
a certain degree of the hierarchisation of intra- and inter-group/regional relations.
A phenomenon which has recently come to attention appears to further reinforce
the picture, that is: the earliest keyhole-shaped tumuli, which initially were believed
to have been identical, have turned out to vary in their shape and content (i.e., the
trace of the mortuary practices conducted there), in a manner which allows them
to be classi¬ed into distinct morphological classes (e.g. Hojo 1999). The proto-
types/genealogical roots of those categories can be found in Yayoi compound burial
groups covered with earthen mounds in areas around the Inland Sea region, and the
largest tumulus in the horizon, the Hashihaka tumulus of the south-eastern corner of
the Nara basin, is interpreted to have been constructed by selectively putting together
characteristics of those prototypes (Hojo 2000). However, as mentioned, the con-
struction of the specimens of these regional types continues, and the Hashihaka-type
remained one of the subtypes constituting the broad category of the earliest keyhole-
shaped tumulus type, although, admittedly, its specimens were distributed widely
throughout the distributional horizon of the earliest keyhole-shaped tumuli (Hojo
2000) (Figure 4.12).
Nation-state, circularity and paradox 113

Figure 4.12 Types of keyhole-shaped tumuli in the beginning of the Kofun period (from Hojo 2000).
Hojo claims that the keyhole-shaped tumuli class 2 was formed by incorporating attributes of various local
tumuli-building traditions which emerged in regions throughout western Japan during the Late Yayoi.
These local traditions represented by the tumuli class 1 continued before class 2 eventually became the
dominant form for the tumuli of local chiefs having strong ties with the paramount chief residing in the
central Kinki region (see also Hojo 1999).
Archaeology, Society and Identity 114

I would argue that the phenomenon can be understood as the formation of a sort
of peer polity interaction sphere-type horizon (Renfrew and Cherry 1986): competition
over the control of exchange networks and competitive emulation mediated, and was
mediated by, increasing intra- and inter-corporate/inter-regional group hierarchisa-
tion, and through that process the ritualistic custom of burying the dead chiefs in
broadly keyhole-shaped mounds would have emerged (Mizoguchi 2000b).
In all, what the foregoing has revealed is that the tumuli marked neither the estab-
lishment of a hierarchical network of polities in which the polity of the Kinki core
region was dominant nor the establishment of the system of unilinear male-line
descent which is inferred to have served as a prerequisite for the establishement of
a stable social hierarchy. Instead, the outcome has suggested a much more com-
plicated picture, in which the hierarchical network of polities centred around the
Kinki core region was gradually emerging out of the ongoing process of inter-group
competition at various scales/levels when the distributional horizon of the earliest
keyhole-shaped tumuli came into being.

The paradox of ˜being critical™
A re-examination of the way in which the process towards the beginning of the
Kofun period has been studied has revealed that some of the key inferences made
for the reconstruction of the social organisation of the time and its transformation
have been treated as if they are con¬rmed facts and do not need veri¬cation. To
put it more precisely, the problems which I have pointed out above have never been
felt to be problematic. In other words, these presuppositions, having turned out to
be somewhat erroneous (in what way they are erroneous is a crucially important
problem in considering the implications of the issue, and we shall come back to
it later) have been recognised as indispensable elements of Kofun archaeology as
a communication system. That means that a certain set of expectations have been
formed and reproduced concerning the way these elements are connected to a pool
of other elements and the image of the Kofun period. In this case, the system“
environment boundary, by which what are and what are not the constitutive elements
of the communication system are distinguished, appears to be drawn by referring
to the most signi¬cant characteristic of the present-day emperor system, i.e., its
There is a suggestive case for this: it seems to have been taken for granted that not
only the process after but also up to the beginning of the Kofun period, as the point
when the foundation of the imperial genealogy is tacitly regarded to have been estab-
lished, was an uninterrupted and unilinear one. For instance, Makoto Sahara and
Shozo Tanabe once praised the ˜creativity™ of the Yayoi culture of the Kansai region
in comparison with its northern Kyushu counterpart, which they characterised as
stagnant and uncreative (Tanabe and Sahara 1966). Their contention was based
upon such observations as the form of many of the basic tools of the Early Yayoi
period being changed in the Middle Yayoi period in the Kansai region whereas they
remained basically unchanged in the northern Kyushu region (Tanabe and Sahara
1966). However, it is obvious that observations of this nature do not necessarily show
Nation-state, circularity and paradox 115

which region was more creative, nor do they indicate which region was more progressive
and advanced in the process towards the achievement of a certain degree of social
hierarchy/complexity. An interesting point about Tanabe and Sahara™s thesis is that
they investigate archaeological evidence and reach the above-mentioned conclusions
with the conviction that they are investigating the ˜prehistory™ of the ˜Yamato court™
(˜Yamato chotei™) (cf. Tanabe and Sahara 1966, 108), which is the name given to the
ancient emperor-led polity residing in the Kinki core region, i.e., the present-day
Nara basin and Kawachi plain, in the Kofun period. As long as relevant pieces of
information are intentionally put together and holes and gaps in the proposed picture
in terms of available archaeological evidence ¬ll in the way which ¬ts the ˜guidelines™,
i.e., to show how natural and logical it was that the Yamato court was established in
the present-day Nara basin and Kawachi plain (where the capitals and the imperial
palaces of the ancient state of Japan were later to be situated), any work/models
put forward along such guidelines are bound to portray what happened before and
after the beginning of the Kofun period as a unilinear evolutionary process, i.e., the
unilinear process through which a primitive society transformed itself into a social
organisation in which what can be described as a ˜court™ emerged.
That means that as long as the beginning of the Kofun period is regarded as mark-
ing/coinciding with the emergence/establishment of a political entity called the Yamato
court, it is only too natural that the process towards it is portrayed in a teleological
manner. It can also be deduced that this teleological tendency would make it dif¬cult
to relativise the historical process which the Kansai region went through towards the
beginning of the Kofun period by comparing the equivalent process of other regions;
the supremacy and dominance of the Kinki core region over other core regions of the
Yayoi social evolution is taken-for-granted, rather than the subject of investigation.
Therefore, the model (which I would argue to be most viable) that the beginning of
the Kofun period was an episode in the ongoing process toward the integration of
the regional polities through their competition is hardly acceptable for many.
Let me look into some intriguing implications of the last point, which I regard
as of crucial importance for a consideration of the nature of the whole matter. The
model which I put forward above would lead to the inference that the spread of
the keyhole-shaped tumulus and allied mortuary customs all over western Japan
and parts of eastern Japan in an archaeologically short period of time resulted from
the strategic distribution by the polity of the Kinki core region of a sort of prestige
assemblage for achieving and securing its dominance. This inference implies two
things: (1) the beginning of the Kofun period did not mark the establishment of the
dominance of the Kinki core polity but marked the beginning of the process through
which it gradually achieved strategic dominance over other polities, and (2) the
dominance of the Kinki core polity, i.e., the so-called Yamato court, was achieved
upon historically contingent conditions, such as its securing exclusive contacts with
the Wei dynasty of China, which was recorded in the Wei™s of¬cial chronicle Weiji
(see Chapter 4.3).
Both these points, interestingly, dispute the two factors used to legitimise the
emperor system, i.e., its continuity and pre-givenness: should the above-mentioned
Archaeology, Society and Identity 116

observation be the case, the origin of the imperial genealogy would be inferred to
have been historically contingent and its continuity not established for some time
after the beginning of the custom of constructing the keyhole-shaped tumulus (many
of whose largest examples, as mentioned, are regarded as the tombs of the ancient
emperors). In other words, quite intriguingly, the archaeological paradigm concern-
ing the beginning of the Kofun period and the social process towards it conforms to
the two factors which are tacitly used to legitimise the emperor system.
What does this intriguing situation in archaeology derive from? I would infer that
an archaeological discourse/communication system which reproduces itself by criti-
cising the emperor system needs the constitutive characteristics of the emperor system to
remain intact. In other words, in order for the study of the beginning of the Kofun
period to continue to be a critical discourse of the emperor system, the constitutive
elements of the emperor system need to be intact: otherwise, the base upon which
the emperor system stands is proven to be shaky, and the meaning of the existence of
the critical discourse of the emperor system itself becomes shaky. Of course, this, should
it be the case, would not be perceived by those who take part in the reproduction
of the discourse as such: if the shakiness of the base of the emperor system is made
apparent, an objective of its critical discourse is achieved. However, in actuality, this
strategy has not been chosen. The foundation of the legitimacy of the emperor sys-
tem has been left intact, and the strategy of preserving it by describing it as a logical
consequence of the historical trajectory has been chosen instead.

Enlightenment and belief in therapy
A signi¬cant characteristic of classical Marxist thought as an Enlightenment social
philosophy in a broader sense, as illustrated earlier (Chapter 2), is its belief in Reason:
Reason, if properly shown and appreciated, has power, armed with logic, to lead
people to the right decision and the right direction. In this case, the decision and
the direction are social ones. Although reason itself is regarded as a universal human
faculty/ability, it has to be articulated as long as it is appreciated and followed. A
trick, which gives rise to a circular argument, is that reason articulated is bound to
be not only appreciated but also followed because reason is a universal faculty of the
human being.
The latter half of this circular logic is important for the current consideration.
As long as the logic works, once reason or elements of it were articulated, they
would have an almost therapeutic effect upon those who suffer from the illogical,
i.e., the ills of society. As illustrated earlier in the second section of this chapter,
the ills of post-Second World War Japanese society, according to Japanese Marx-
ist thought/archaeology, stem from the surviving emperor system which ideologi-
cally concealed and legitimised social contradictions. These characteristics led to
the devastation of the war and continue to do damage by ideologically concealing
and tacitly legitimising the preserved problems which might lead to a devastation of
the same magnitude as that of the Second World War. Accordingly, the ills have to
be revealed/articulated properly, and should they be revealed/articulated properly,
the whole problem would be solved in one way or another, i.e., in the form of various
Nation-state, circularity and paradox 117

socio-political changes. In order for the ills to be properly revealed/articulated, as far
as the above argument goes, there has to be someone who knows the proper way in
which they should be revealed/articulated. Those who claim to know the way, includ-
ing politicians, activists, and scholars, have to identify themselves as such, and in
order for them to do so, ironically, the ills have to be there; should the ills be gone,
the foundation upon which they identify themselves as those who are in the know
would be gone, too, and should their identity be gone, the possibility of a cure for the
ills would be gone. In other words, the existential/ontological base of the ills needs to
be preserved in order for those who claim/regard themselves as speci¬cally quali¬ed
to reveal/criticise them to continue to do this job.
The continuation of this peculiarly paradoxical situation has been made possi-
ble by the paradigm of taking for granted the existence of those who enlighten and
those who are enlightened. This paradigm is in a way a remnant of the hierar-
chical differentiation (or ˜pre-modern™ mode) of communication systems in which
˜who utters what™ determines the way each communication system is structured
and reproduced: what those who are ranked higher utter determines the rights and
wrongs in a communication (see Chapter 3.6). However, in the functional differenti-
ation (or ˜modern™ mode) of communication systems, such systems become horizon-
tally located and interconnected to one another, and the hierarchical positionality of
the individual becomes increasingly irrelevant to the way a communication system
is structured and reproduced. Rights and wrongs in a communication system, or the
distinction between the elements and non-elements of that communication system,
are not determined by what the higher-ranked utter but instead by referring to the
way other communication systems are structured and reproduced. This means that
the interdependence between communication systems becomes the prerequisite for
their existence and continuation in the functional differentiation of communication
This puts any critical discourse/communication system in dif¬culty: in order for
any critical discourse/communication system to continue, it needs to preserve what
it criticises. Without the subject of the critique, a critical discourse/communication
system cannot reproduce itself in functional differentiation. The Kofun archaeology
as a critical discourse of modernity/functional differentiation embodies the dif¬culty
of being critical in modernity: the very existence of Kofun archaeology (a critical
discourse) helps the reproduction of the discourse of the emperor system (the subject
of the criticism).

4.5 Imprisoned in the circularity and paradox of modernity
The Japanese experiences which have been illustrated above show the inevitability of
paradox in reproducing archaeological discourses/communication systems in moder-
nity. At the same time, we have seen how the paradox is de-paradoxised, i.e., made
invisible or forgotten. In hierarchical differentiation/the pre-modern mode of com-
munication systems, the de-paradoxisation is achieved by referring to who utters
what; the rights and wrongs are determined by the social position of the person
who utters them. In functional differentiation, this technology of de-paradoxisation
Archaeology, Society and Identity 118

no longer works, because the communication systems are organised horizontally.
Instead, a communication system has to be de-paradoxised by referring to another
communication system such as a political communication system, which is randomly
chosen rather than by a universalisable reason. For instance, the Protestant Christian
belief used to connect the religious and economic communication systems under the
concept of ˜calling™, but no longer (cf. Weber 1930).
However, what was going on in Japanese archaeology up to the 1960s was the
continuation of a pseudo pre-modern situation: reference by the Marxist discourse
to that of the emperor system in its (Marxist discourse™s) de-paradoxisation was
perceived as if it was natural/logical/right. As illustrated, the combination of histori-
cal factors, (a) the widely shared experience of the manipulation of the image of the
emperor and imperial history during pre-Second World War years, (b) heavy capital-
ism, and (c) the Cold War equilibrium, made the perception that the critique of the
emperor system was the best way to the realisation of a better society widely sharable.
Ironically and paradoxically, though, the discourse of the critique of the emperor sys-
tem needed the continuation of the emperor system for its continuation. In other
words, in the uniquely stable context of the post-Second World War years, archaeo-
logical discourse/communication systems became interdependent on the discourse
of the emperor system through the necessity of their own de-paradoxisation. The
critique of something can only be made possible by the existence and continuation
of that very something in functional differentiation.
However, this technology was identical to, or rather was actually based upon, the
tradition of the way in which the emperor system had been drawn upon as the means
with which to de-paradoxise the paradox of the identi¬cation of the nation-state of
Japan and the Japanese (cf. 4.2 above). In the process of the establishment of the
modern nation-state, its contents and domain were in continuous transformation,
and the identity of the nation-state and the people could only be acquired and repro-
duced by continuously revising the perception of similarities and differences between
the Japanese and the non-Japanese, and the boundary between them was itself con-
tinuously redrawn (see Chapter 4.2). The authority and legitimacy of the emperor
system were derived from the narrative of the continuity of the imperial genealogy,
and the narrative of the continuity enabled the reproduction of the illusory percep-
tion of the stable/unchanged identity of the Japanese and the domain of Japan, both
of which, in actuality, were in a process of constant change. And that the emperor
system was functioning this way itself legitimised the emperor system. Circularity
and paradox were moblised to conceal and deproblematise themselves: a typically modern
What is symptomatic about the Japanese experience is that all these dis-
courses which we have seen working, the archaeological, the emperor system, the
national body, the Japanese, and so on, depend on one another in terms of their
continuation/survival. Their interdependence is historically contingent, and that
very contingency makes the interdependence unbreakable. And this unbreakable
interdependence between certain discourses/communication systems determines
their structure and content. This implies that a critical discourse/communication
Nation-state, circularity and paradox 119

system needs the discourse/communication system it criticises to continue in order
to reproduce itself. In other words, any critical discourse/communication system in
functional differentiation/modernity cannot be critical to the extent that the criticised
discourse/communication system is terminated. The archaeological communication
system is no exception.
What is important to note is that once having become interdependent, the contin-
gency involved in the interdependence between discourses/communication systems
continued to be concealed/forgotten until the 1970s. However, since then, the envi-
ronment surrounding the reproduction of the discourses/communication systems
appears to have changed: the contingency behind the interdependence between the
discourses/communication systems has become apparent, and the de-paradoxisation
of the paradox of a discourse/communication system by referring to another dis-
course/communication system has become increasingly dif¬cult; it has been revealed
that there are a number of equally viable ways to de-paradoxise a communication
system. This has led to endless relativisation in discursive space and tremendous
dif¬culty in de-paradoxising discourses/communication systems. In short, anything
goes has become the dominant feeling, the feeling of reality, about society. This is
what some scholars describe as the coming of the post-modern, and the next chapter
will consider the dif¬culties archaeologists have come to be faced with in it.
Fragmentation, multiculturalism,
and beyond

5.1 Introduction: crisis, hyper-capitalism, and
post-processual archaeologies
Crisis, what crisis?
It has been a while since the word ˜crisis™ began to be uttered in describing the state
of Japanese archaeology. An interesting thing about this is that the nature of the crisis
itself has never been speci¬ed in this ˜crisis discourse™; or rather, it seems that the
fact that we do not know how to describe/characterise this crisis itself constitutes
the core of the crisis. Japanese archaeology was felt to be in a different type of a
crisis situation back in the late 1960s and early 1970s. However, Japanese archae-
ologists apparently felt they not only knew what constituted the crisis but also what
was behind the crisis back then. The ever-accelerating pace of the destruction of
archaeological sites was truly threatening during those periods (NKK 1971, 1980),
and devising strategies to counter it was an urgent task. Meanwhile, archaeologists
also knew, or were believed to know, how to grasp and talk about the crisis, and as a
prerequisite for doing so they also felt they knew how the crisis situation had come
about/was created. In other words, Japanese archaeologists by the late 1960s and
early 1970s had a clearly articulated system of concepts and terms, i.e., a ˜theory™,
a Marxist theory as illustrated in Chapter 4 and to be touched upon later again, to
make sense of the situation and with which to decide how to make an intervention
in it.
That we have lost our ability to grasp and talk about the crisis which we feel we have
been in since then means, concerning the above, that we Japanese archaeologists have
lost the theory altogether. Saying this, though, immediately raises a question: have
we just forgotten it? It seems rather odd that an established theory in an academic
discipline is forgotten in such a relatively short period of time. However, what has
happened cannot but be described in this manner. As illustrated in the previous
chapter, one of the causes of this ˜forgetting™ would be that Japanese archaeology has
a tendency of not systematically articulating conceptual frameworks for describing,
explaining and understanding archaeological evidence, regardless of the degree of
abstraction (Mizoguchi 1997). However, as we saw in Chapter 4.2, the tendency
appears to have been there well before the above-mentioned crisis situation surfaced.
This means that the forgetting cannot simply be explained as a consequence of an
inbuilt tendency/a structuring principle of Japanese archaeology as a communication

Archaeology, Society and Identity 122

Demise of grand narratives
In attempting to make sense of this phenomenon, the following points seem to be
of particular importance. First, this ˜forgetting™ might be an example of the demise
of grand narratives/theories, recognised to have taken place throughout the social
and arts sciences in the 1970s and 1980s (cf. Lyotard 1984). When making sense
of the crisis situation back in the 1960s and 1970s, i.e., differentiating symptomatic
phenomena and articulating explanations as to their cause, Japanese archaeologists
referred to the package of thoughts broadly de¬ned as Marxism (see Chapter 4.2),
a de¬ning grand theory and narrative framework of the twentieth century. Some
elements of Marxist thought maintain their importance in the discursive space of
contemporary society (e.g. Jay 1984), but the classical Marxist thesis, claiming that
the intrinsic contradiction of the capitalist economy inevitably leads to its self destruc-
tion in the form of the proletariat revolution and to its replacement by socialism, and
allied remarks on the state of the domains of social totality, lost its appeal as the sense
of reality; and what people could think of as a coherent political action programme
for the everyday was gone. (We shall return to this point in detail later.) The loss
of the sense of reality of not only the classical Marxist thought and programme but
also other grand theories and narratives, as Jean-Francois Lyotard famously pointed
out, was paralleled with the coming of a social formation sometimes described as
the post-modern (Lyotard 1984). Regardless of characterising it as a discontinuous
change or the acceleration of an ongoing trend/trends (Luhmann, for instance, took
the latter view by seeing it as a phenomenon of accelerating functional differentiation
characteristic of modernity: see Chapters 3.6 and 3.7), we seem to be in a situation
in which the universal knowledge which we acquire, or we wishfully imagine/believe
we acquire, through our universally shared experience, which is a fundamental base
of grand narratives/theories such as classical Marxism, has become inaccessible. The
feeling that the knowledge we obtain from our experience can have universality was
based upon the perception that our experience of suffering, for instance, derived
from the fact that the ideal society (which is, of course, ideal to everyone else) had
not arrived. That led us to think that we had to strive towards a common goal, i.e.,
realisation of the ideal society, and sharing of this image of the ideal society, a social-
ist society in the Marxist vision. This made it possible to observe the society we
live in and its reality that way, i.e., the problem about society which we felt was
Note, again, as we have been doing throughout the volume so far, the circular and
paradoxical relationship between the observation of the present and the imagining
of the ideal society. The sense of reality of the theory and the sense of validity of the
image of the ideal society put forward by the theory mutually supported each other™s
existence. The circularity and paradox were being solved by chronically postponing the
realisation of the ideal society; the not-yet-coming of the ideal society enhances the
importance and righteousness of the theory for constructing the ideal society itself.
However, this mechanism of de-paradoxisation appears to have stopped working
sometime in the second half of the twentieth century, sometime between the late
1960s and the 1970s in Japan. And, as a systemic reaction to it, we have begun
Fragmentation, multiculturalism and beyond 123

to adopt an attitude of taking for granted the coexistence of a number of ways
of feeling/grasping/describing a thing. This adoption of a pluralistic attitude has,
somewhat inevitably, come with the attitude of chronically relativising the validity of
one™s observation/decision and shifting one™s position, and that has led to the rise of
chronic anxiety and cynicism about what we can do with archaeology and what we can
gain from practising it. This is quite natural because we have lost our con¬dence in
historical thinking in its classic sense: we are supposed to learn history to learn how
to act in the present for the future, but in circumstances such as this, what difference
is there between now and the future? What is ahead is only the endless generation of
differences, or in other words, the endless relativisation of the way we see the world
and the way we act in the world (cf. Luhmann 1998).
A parallel transformation in archaeology, albeit with a different outlook, can be
recognised as having taken place initially in the UK and then become widespread in
the English-speaking world. Let us now turn to that.

Now we are all multiculturalists
A poignant expression of this general social situation is the rise of multiculturalism
(see Chapter 2.3 for its position in the broad topography of contemporary social
philosophy), which, I would argue, has its expression in Anglo-American archaeology
in the form of post-processual archaeologies (e.g. Preucel 1991).
This ˜movement™, rather than disciplinary body of knowledge, as already well
argued, has opened up the previously rather closed discursive space of archaeology
(although some early attempts to open up archaeology to social issues, albeit not
yielding a signi¬cant impact, had to be recognised, cf. Clarke 1939) to all sorts of
possibilities yet to be articulated, and their articulations are taking place through
confronting various contextual realities of doing archaeology in various parts of
the contemporary world, most often in the form of recognising the importance of
local/indigenous voices previously dismissed/suppressed by the Eurocentric/colonial
epistemology of Science (e.g. Gosden 1999, Chapter 8). In that sense, the post-
processual-archaeologies movement appears to be reconnecting archaeology to social
reality (e.g. Hodder 2003). However, the movement is also leading to anxiety and
cynicism, which characteristically accompany multiculturalism. For instance, how
is an absolutely value-neutral, and hence universal, i.e., politically correct, language
possible as we promote the importance of distinct local knowledges/cultures? Is it
not a self-contradiction of promoting both? Or, would af¬rmative action/prioritising
a previously subordinate group not lead to the creation of another structure of
domination/discrimination? Suspicion that academic integrity is being compromised
by prioritising and privileging ˜multivocality™ is met with the objection that yearning
for academic integrity itself is the uncritical, unconscious endorsement of a western-
world biased, colonialistic, male-centric world view, and this objection is further met
with the counterargument that the emphasis upon multivocality is the manipulation
by interest groups of the past, which is exactly what the proponents of multicultur-
alism accuse western male scholars of doing. Naturally and logically the argument
ends up being a vicious-circular one, because both the opponents and the proponents
Archaeology, Society and Identity 124

of the multiculturalist stance share the problem they mutually accuse each other of
creating, i.e., prioritising the voice of one interest group/groups or certain epistemic
stance over others. And the most viable compromise is to agree that the most impor-
tant thing is to continue arguing about the issue in order to try to ¬nd a better
Interestingly, a similar kind of anxiety and cynicism albeit with a different appear-
ance is also acutely felt in Japanese archaeology, as illustrated in Chapter 1: there is
no common ground upon which to measure the ˜value™ of a site/a statement about the
site and what is possible is only not to close down the discursive space where different
interest-laden opinions continuously negotiate each other™s positions. It seems we
are experiencing a universal dif¬culty in various regionalised manners, and the expe-
rience of this peculiar mixture of the universal and the regional is ever augmenting
the above-mentioned multicultural attitude and its consequences.
Let us look more deeply into the emergence of the post-processual archaeologies
movement and its subsequent trajectory of transformation here in order to contex-
tualise the movement and to make a systematic comparison with the Japanese
situation possible. The emergence of the post-processual archaeologies movement,
retrospectively, was most tangibly marked by the publications of two books, one
edited and the other single-authored by Ian Hodder, namely Symbolic and struc-
tural archaeology and Symbols in action (Hodder ed. 1982; Hodder 1982). The
former is a collection of papers, and the latter is a monograph of Hodder™s ethno-
archaeological ¬eldwork in Africa, with extensive interpretations and commentaries
on the implications for archaeological theory; and they can both be characterised
by the premise that material items, both portable and architectural, work/are used
as symbolic media for the conduct of various social strategies. The introduction of
this to archaeology marked a radical departure from the then dominant perspec-
tive (the New/˜processual™ archaeology, cf. Trigger 1989, Chapter 8) which took for
granted that material culture functioned as the material media of the working of social
subsystems,1 whose reaction to a change in their environment (including both the
intra- and extra-system, natural and cultural environment) was such that the internal
equilibrium (stability) and the survival of the system whole consisting of a number
of subsystems were made possible (cf. Binford 1962).
The relationship of such material categories as the technomic, socio-technic and
ideo-technic (Binford 1962) with subsystems whose working/˜functioning™ (mean-
ing working for the sustenance of the internal stability of the system whole, as men-
tioned) they mediated was understood to be one of mechanistic re¬‚ection. Besides,
each subsystem was treated as an anthropomorphic unit, although, in reality, its
working was constituted by individual human acts. Therefore, there was no room
for intentionality to intervene in the relationship between material culture and human
Some intriguing similarities with the Japanese Marxist approach can be pointed
out about the framework of processual archaeology. The Japanese Marxist approach
1 By ˜function™, here, I mean the working of something constituting a larger whole in the direction of
maintaining/regaining the stable state/˜equilibrium™ of the larger whole.
Fragmentation, multiculturalism and beyond 125

also sought the speci¬cation of causality, and hence the speci¬cation of the units of
cause“effect connections. In the case of Japanese Marxist archaeology, the cause-unit
consisted of the force of production and the effect-unit the ideological components
of society. In the case of processual archaeology, the former consisted of a new
condition in the environment external to a system whole and/or to the subsystems
constituting it, and the latter a new adaptive state of the system and subsystems. Both
frameworks share the belief that ¬xed, essential elements of society, by explaining the
state in which any society can be understood, exist. For Japanese Marxist archae-
ology, the infra- and superstructure constituting the social totality are treated as
such elements, and for processual archaeology they are the hierarchically structured
subsystems constituting the system whole. In Chapter 4.2, I mentioned that the
processualist framework was dismissed by practitioners of Japanese Marxist archae-
ology as ahistorical and uncritical. However, as far as their logical structures are
concerned, they are akin to one another. We shall come back to the implications
Coming back to the present topic, one of the most signi¬cant of Hodder™s ¬ndings
is that the extension of a spatio-temporal unit within which the condition requiring a
certain functional reaction was shared often did not coincide with the spatio-temporal
distribution of the material items which, from Binford™s and the processualists™
perspective, were assumed to mediate the working of the subsystems functionally
reacting to it (cf. Hodder 1982, 58“74). In the process of making sense of such
phenomena, Hodder came to realise that material culture was ˜meaningfully consti-
tuted™, by which he meant that material items were used with various intents which
were much more complicated than what could be described as systemic reactions to
external factors, and should be made sense of as if reading ˜material culture text™.
This meant that material items were mobilised by speci¬c individuals to express some
speci¬c meanings, laden with speci¬c interests and value judgments, as authors did
in writing texts; and hence they can be made sense of as if reading them (e.g. Hodder
That a con¬guration of material attributes/items/features can be read as if it were a
written text means that, in order to make sense of it, the reader (the archaeologist) has
to try to understand not only the intent of those who ˜wrote™ it (the people/individuals
in the past) but also their mentality, i.e., the condition in which they were situated
and how that constituted the way the text was written. The ˜reading™ is also inevitably
in¬‚uenced by the way in which the reader/archaeologist is situated in his/her con-
temporary world, and a good reading has to take into account these two horizons
of situatedness. An awareness of situatedness, past and present, forced proponents
of this idea to seek theoretical sophistication by referring to the theory and method of
hermeneutics, which methodologically formulated the way to move back and forth
between the above-mentioned two horizons in order to reach a better reading by con-
necting and harmonising their historical implications (cf. Hodder and Hutson 2003,
195“202). It should be noted here that the procedure is bound to be ever ongoing and
indeterminant because an inevitable transformation of the state of the situatedness of
the reader in the present inevitably leads to a different understanding of that of the
Archaeology, Society and Identity 126

past and its historical implications. This implies the untestability/unfalsi¬ability of
the interpretations put forward by the proponents of the hermeneutical approach.2
At the same time, the realisation of the possibility and potential of reading material
culture led to the recognition that the relationship between material items and their
meanings can be compared to that between signi¬ers and signi¬eds. This, together
with the introduction of hermeneutic theory and methodology, can be understood
to coincide with the ˜linguistic turn™ which took place widely in social and histori-
cal sciences. An origin of this kind of paradigm shift can be traced back to Michel
Foucault™s in¬‚uential work (especially The order of things, 2001), which revealed that
the differentiation/articulation of new concepts/words and the discovery/invention
of their referents could not be separated into two separate, temporal“sequential or
cause“effect type categories but rather had to be understood to constitute a hori-
zon (episteme) in which their cause“effect relationship is constantly reversed and
transformed. Drawing upon this recognition, Foucault argued that history could be
written as a sequence/stratigraphy of such horizons, and that what historians could
do was not to specify the causal connection between concepts and their referents but
to describe the structure of each such horizon and its internal dynamics (2001).
Foucault™s proposition ignited a sea change in the social and historical sciences
in which mutuality and interchangeability, especially that between units/categories
of historical investigation, which were previously understood to constitute such
distinct categories as cause and effect, infrastructure and superstructure, and so
on, became emphasised; and that resulted in the shift of research focus from the
economic/institutional to the cultural/mundane. Again, it should be noted that the
emphasis upon mutuality and interchangeability made the investigation indetermi-
nant, because a historical phenomenon cannot be assigned to either the cause or the
effect, and that made falsi¬able model-building impossible.
The ˜linguistic turn™ in archaeology, methodologically, took the form of the intro-
duction of structural analysis in which material items/patterned units are arranged
into a series of dichotomous pairs such as male : female :: blue : red by their recurrent
coexistence in individual contexts. Each such pair is treated as a referent/signi¬er of
the other differentiated pairs, and that means that the cause(s) of the formation of
the series itself has to be sought outside the series. Such outside factors as power rela-
tions of various sorts, the operation of ideologies, and so on, are often designated
as the causes by which the series was generated (e.g. Tilley 1991). For instance, a
male : female dichotomy is transformed recurrently in everyday life to a number of
other dichotomies such as purity : pollution :: culture : nature, and so on whereby
the domination by the former over the latter is naturalised (e.g. Hodder 1982, 125“
184). However, those factors, i.e., power relations, ideologies, and so on, are also
referents of something else, particular world views (such as ideological explanation :
systemic explanation :: political left : political right), for instance, and in that sense

2 This point attracted criticism from processualists as a fatal lack of the rigorousness required for any
scienti¬c endeavour, but this point has no signi¬cant relevance to the current argument. What is
particularly signi¬cant here is that the untestability/unfalsi¬ability of the interpretations implies uncer-
tainty/indeterminacy in academic communication. We shall come back to it later.
Fragmentation, multiculturalism and beyond 127

remain indeterminant; why a speci¬c cause, such as the operation of an ideology, can
be speci¬ed can only be explained by referring to factors, again, external to the cause
itself. In other words, the signi¬er of a certain signi¬ed is inevitably transformed to
the signi¬ed of another signi¬er, and the spiral is logically impossible to terminate;
the ˜chain of signi¬ers™ continues to grow. Besides, a differentiated/recognised series
of dichotomous pairs would never coincide with what was discursively grasped by
those who left behind the material items from which the series is articulated; it has
been well recognised that most daily human acts are conducted in a habituated man-
ner and not discursively articulated or grasped (cf. Giddens 1984, Chapter 1), and
that is also the case for the relationship between acts and the material items which
mediate their conduct. These factors inevitably make it dif¬cult to give any closure
to structural analysis; it is impossible to exhaust possible investigations to verify the
¬ndings, because it is we archaeologists who determine the way to give a discursive
explanation to the phenomenon which was not grasped by people in the past in a
discursive manner. A chain of symbols and their referents can never be exhausted.
In other words, it is impossible to impose a closure on the chain of signi¬ers which
is both ever growing and ever differently articulated.

Now we all are obsessed with the body
I would argue that the concept of the body and embodied experience/practice, cur-
rently the subject of keen theoretical interest and debate (e.g. Meskell and Joyce
2003), has been introduced in order to solve the above-illustrated, intrinsic prob-
lem of the broad interpretive/hermeneutical approach (another possible cause of a
sudden increase in interest in the body will be touched upon later). The intrinsic
nature of the body as the closest and most intimate environment of the working of
our mind, mediating our engagement with the world by enabling and constraining
our physical movement, makes the body the unit which can be assumed to consti-
tute, albeit partially, the situatedness past and present in an identical manner. For
instance, the sensory experience we have when we walk around one of the well-
preserved henge monuments of the British Isles can be assumed to have been rea-
sonably similar to that of those who built it and conducted activities within it, though
the way of talking about it would never coincide (cf. Barrett 1994). In that sense, the
body, in the attempt to hermeneutically make sense of the past through the reading
of material culture, can work as the de-paradoxisation device (for the concept of de-
paradoxisation and its theoretical implications for the argumentation throughout the
volume see Chapter 3.6 above); by referring to bodily experience (constrained as well
as constituted by a speci¬c architectural structure, for instance) to which a series of
dichotomous pairs can be connected (e.g. going in and coming out of a henge circle
might have been perceived as crossing the boundary between ritual and mundane,
and hence to mark such dichotomies as culture : nature :: sacred : profane, and so
on), we can impose a closure on the above-illustrated uncontrollable indeterminacy/
growth of the chain of signi¬ers by claiming that a speci¬c bodily engagement with
a certain material being in the past world which generated the series of dichoto-
mous pairs can be re-experienced by us archaeologists, which makes it possible to
Archaeology, Society and Identity 128

understand the original meanings generated through the experience as well. In other
words, the possibility of re-experiencing can solve the ˜indeterminacy problem™ by
securing inter-subjective consensus across time.
This theoretico-epistemological position, ˜somatised archaeology™, has been for-
mulated and re¬ned by incorporating ideas and methods from the philosophical tra-
dition of phenomenology, and has been particularly in¬‚uential in Britain (cf. Tilley
1994; Thomas 1996; amongst many others). However, the position has been subject
to some severe criticism, one of which, quite relevant to the current argument, is
to claim the perception of the body and the bodily experience to be multiple and
¬‚uid, and to criticise the phenomenological approach™s tendency to focus solely on
the universality of the bodily experience (e.g. Hodder and Hutson 2003, Chapter
6, Meskell and Joyce 2003). It is claimed that by assuming the universality of the
bodily experience, the experience of the present and its description is privileged,
prioritised and made dominant, and the possibility of different bodily experiences
and perceptions in the past tends to be ignored (Hodder and Hutson 2003, 119).
The problem of this criticism is that the similarity or difference of the present
bodily perception or experience from the past can only be assessed if they are dif-
ferentiated and articulated to discursive expressions; the experience is surely there,
but unless the feeling is talked about or written down, it cannot be compared or
scrutinised. In that sense, this type of criticism, except for some uniquely successful
cases from Ancient Egypt and the classical Maya, by fully utilising the advantage
of having abundant documents and iconographic depictions concerning differ-
ent bodily perceptions and experiences from what we can conventionally imagine
(cf. Meskell and Joyce 2003), brings back the indeterminacy problem; by urging us
to assume the multiplicity of bodily experience and perception, which is not itself nec-
essarily problematic, the critics ask us to be aware of the unknowable, and hence urge
us to accept indeterminacy. Putting it tactically and cynically, doing the above also
makes it considerably easier to produce new accounts concerning the issue; an article
can be written by merely criticising the endeavours attempting to reach something
sharable by saying that such efforts fail to take into account something probable,
i.e., the multiplicity and ¬‚uidity of the perception and experience of the body, but
unknowable, i.e., undiscursivised. It should be added that claiming something prob-
able but unknowable makes one™s position uncriticisable, because the probability of
the claim itself can never be checked because it is unknowable. In that sense, the
probable-but-unknowables such as the multiplicity of bodily experience have a tran-
scendental nature of a sort, as we saw in Chapters 3 and 4; the multiplicity and ¬‚uidity
of the perception and experience of the body as tangible as a conceptual construct
but intangible as a concrete, sharable being at the same time.
The spurt of interest in the body and the bodily experience/perception appears
to mirror what is going on in the realm of self identi¬cation in contemporary soci-
ety. It is widely recognised that concern about the body has lately been increased
and intensi¬ed in various ways. Concern about health, appearance, how to alter it,
and so on are preoccupations of most of us today. The cause, no doubt, is multi-
faceted (e.g. Turner 2003), but it seems that the single factor ultimately shared by
all the possible causes is the ¬xity and uninterchangeability of the body. The body
Fragmentation, multiculturalism and beyond 129

is the inescapable material frame in which the subject is situated.3 In that sense,
as all other things in the world, ranging from thoughts through perceptions to the
material, can be both signi¬ers and signi¬eds at the same time and hence replace-
able/transformable/interchangeable, the causal-connectedness between the body and
the subject is irreplaceable, untransformable, and uninterchangeable, although the
relationship between the body and the subject is dual and mutual, and the way it is
perceived is often ¬‚uid and changeable from one social context to the next (cf. Meskell
and Joyce 2003; Fowler 2004, Chapter 2). That means that anything which the sub-
ject does to the body can be ¬xed and speci¬ed as to its causality, albeit temporarily,
and hence provides the subject with the feeling of being ˜in control™. Otherwise,
the subject, in the circumstance illustrated above, is not ever able to acquire such a
feeling. In other words, the body functions as the ¬xed/¬xable point4 with which to
impose a closure, albeit temporarily, to the ever expanding chain of signi¬ers which
the subject generates and has to cope with at the same time.
The increasing awareness of the body, from the above viewpoint, can be under-
stood as an attempt to enhance this ¬xity and to secure the feeling in the sub-
ject of being in control of the world through the mediation of the body. If this
were the case, the parallelism with the implications of the introduction of the
notion of the body/phenomenological experience to the post-processual interpre-
tive/hermeneutical archaeology, ˜somatisation of archaeology™ (Meskell 1996) would
be quite apparent; both the subject and the hermeneutical archaeologist, situated in
late-/high-/post-modernity, need the tool with which to secure the imposition of a
closure to the world/phenomena it deals with in order to acquire the feeling of being
in control and in order to make the interpretation coherent and sharable.
In addition, exactly the same can be applied to the rising popularity of so-called
˜Cognitive archaeology™. I do not intend to make as extensive a critical summary
of this genre as of somatised archaeology, the cases in which different modes of
wiring the brain can be causally connected to the different cognitive or behavioural
patterns of species in genus homo (e.g. Mithen 1996) are most successful and best
exemplify the structural similarity of the genre™s recent popularity to that of somatised
archaeology; the generation of meanings can be causally connected to the working
and structure of the brain, and the indeterminacy of meanings in the reproduction
of communication systems can be solved or forgotten, though, in reality, connecting
the generation of meanings to the work and structure of the brain itself does not tell
us anything at all about the contents of meanings and their social signi¬cance.

The coming of the multivocal
As the above-illustrated attempt at taming the uncontrollable expansion of the chain
of signi¬ers has become a vogue, the attitude of abandoning the possibility of
containing the uncontrollable expansion of the chain of signi¬ers but of positively

3 Although its material extension/boundary can be (perceived to be) blurred and transformable, particu-
larly through the mediation of material culture (cf. Hodder and Hutson 2003, Chapter 6; Meskell and
Joyce 2003).
4 I should immediately emphasise here that the body as an entity is not a ¬xed, stable unit but a ¬‚uid
entity with its ever-changing perceived contents and boundary, cf. Meskell and Joyce (2003).
Archaeology, Society and Identity 130

allowing it without worrying about making the acquisition of coherent and ¬xed
interpretations/understanding impossible has also become rife. This trend is intri-
cately related to the demands of multivocality.
Archaeology was destined to become aware of its importance when archaeologists
started listening to informants in order to make sense of the intentions and mean-
ings behind material culture patterns (cf. Hodder 1982). When they encountered
intentions, systems of meanings, and the involvement of practical consciousness not
discursively expressed but only articulated through problematisation in the consti-
tution of material culture patterns, archaeology became destined to be confronted
with this demand; when interpretive ethno-archaeologists such as Hodder began
to listen to the narratives of indigenous populations on their material cultures and
their meanings, what was certain to become obvious was the fact that indigenous
voices had been ignored just as their cultures and ways of life had been dismissed,
suppressed and silenced as primitive, barbaric, and irrelevant to scienti¬c endeav-
our (cf. papers in Ucko 1995). Therefore, listening to indigenous voices became a
methodological requirement in ethno-archaeological practice, and the realisation of
the above led to the conscious attempt not only to listen to indigenous voices but also
to involve indigenous peoples in the practice of archaeology as stakeholders (Ucko
1995; Hodder and Hutson 2003, 217“233).
In that sense, the conscious incorporation of multivocality into archaeology was
meant to positively expand the horizon of archaeological practice which previously
had silenced indigenous voices, past and present. However, the post-processual
archaeologies movement, increasingly locating emphasis on multivocality, ironically,
has ended up forming a ˜negative paradigm™, a paradigm based upon the epistemo-
logical stance that the knowledge that no uni¬ed/de¬nite knowledge of the world is possible
is the only knowledge which is sustainable. In other words, the attempt to promote
multivocality has allowed relativism to come in by the back door.
It has to be noted, again, that no one would deny the role played by post-processual
archaeologies in igniting various debates about the relationships between archaeo-
logical knowledge production and society (e.g. Hodder 1999). However, one also
cannot deny the rise of the feeling that this relativistic ˜deconstruction™ of belief in
the uni¬ed knowledge of the world has also resulted in the destruction of the dis-
cursive space for critical and constructive dialogue and, ironically, led to the erosion
of the epistemological base for mutuality/mutual understanding between different
voices/stakeholders that the movement is meant to promote. The majority of practi-
tioners of post-processual archaeologies would argue that what they are after is quite
the contrary: opening up an increasing number of discursive spaces for freer, crit-
ical dialogue. However, what we are actually witnessing appears to be the creation
of mutually segregated, even sometimes hostile, discursive spaces/¬elds which do not
communicate with one another.
And quite ironically, if situated in this broad picture, the rise of somatised archae-
ology, illustrated above, is a part of, as well as a reaction to, this ongoing process
of fragmentation in archaeological discourse; an attempt at expanding the hori-
zon of our perception and opening up a sharable framework, accompanied by the
Fragmentation, multiculturalism and beyond 131

introduction of a new type of indeterminacy and segregation in the form illustrated

Fragmentation and the paradox of the hyper-capitalist economy
The operation of such mutually isolated discursive spaces, i.e., an ever-increasing
number of self-claimed new approaches/stances under the banner of post-processual
archaeologies, can be compared to the operation of the hyper-capitalist economy
(Bauman 2000b, Chapter 2). Acquiring universality and homogeneity by showing
the masses the impossibility of obtaining universality and homogeneity is the fun-
damental, paradoxical characteristic of hyper-capitalism; one™s desire to be different
can only be ful¬lled by purchasing something different from what the majority of
people have, but that something is itself bound to be a mass product. In that sense,
it is impossible to be genuinely ˜unique™ and ˜different™ in this world. Otherwise the
growth of capital stops when everyone comes to think they are all unique and differ-
ent. Meanwhile, everyone tacitly knows that it is impossible to be genuinely unique
and different, and everyone knows that this is the only universal truth in the world
of capitalism, symbolised by the proliferation of pop-art (Jameson 1991). This is a
game rather than what we can comfortably call life, and the feeling of playing an
endless game is inevitably accompanied by cynicism.
The celebration of differences by the practitioners of post-processual archaeologies
(cf. Hodder 1999), I would argue, is structurally parallel to this. No one appears to
truly believe that what he or she is saying about the past is genuinely unique and
different. No one truly wants to be genuinely unique and different, either because, if
it were the case, he or she would be ignored or treated as not being an archaeologist
or because doing so might disturb the continuation of the communication he or
she is involved in. Here, we see a parallel between the working of capitalism and
the working of post-processual knowledge production. There is always the thirst
for uniqueness and difference, but everyone knows too well that it will never be
quenched. Or rather, no one wants to be genuinely quenched. One wants to put
forward a unique and different idea, but one also wants one™s unique and different
idea to be accepted as ordinary and similar as well.
What would result from the rise of this paradoxical, hyper-capitalistic, anti-
discourse discourse? I would argue that it is mutual indifference and/or ˜illogical™ hos-
tility against those who reproduce other discourses. In order to have one™s ˜unique™
and ˜different™ idea accepted as ordinary and similar, one tends to form a small circle
of colleagues who share an identical epistemic framework. Such a circle, sharing a
˜miniature paradigm™ so to speak, has to be large enough to provide one with the
feeling of being accepted by others but small enough to provide one with the feeling
of being unique and different from other such circles. By an epistemic framework in
this context, I mean a framework which makes one comfortable with a speci¬c way of
communicating with others and making sense of the world. The framework consists
of the way one moves one™s body, the way one feels things, the way one expresses
one™s feelings, and so on. The framework has to be able to make relationships among
the members of a circle as intimate as possible, to make them feel they are unique
Archaeology, Society and Identity 132

and different from others, and to that end the epistemic framework shared by the
members of such a circle has to be not easily understandable to the members of
other circles. A session in a British Theoretical Archaeology Group (TAG) confer-
ence might serve as a good example of such a framework and miniature paradigm at


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