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Funding Matters: Archaeology and the Political Economy of the Past in the EU
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies. (The Research School of Studies in Cultural History - FoKult)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1850-0882
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this thesis is to show how Europe is constructed at the intersection between archaeology, money and politics within EU cultural actions. Ever since the 1970s, the European Community has invested money and prestige in the idea of a common cultural heritage for Europe. Alongside symbolic attributes such as the flag and anthem, archaeological sites have been used as rhetorical fuel to create a sense of European belonging, much like in national identity building. As a result, archaeologists and heritage professionals have benefitted from EU funding for restoration of sites, training schools and cooperation projects since 1976.

In order to address this mutual engagement, the research in this thesis explores the ways that EU grant systems in culture have fostered specific approaches to Europeanness, and how supported projects have responded to notions about a common heritage. By considering EU officials, expert reviewers, consultants and archaeologists as co-creators of the frameworks they participate in, this study raises the idea of financial ties as a place of interaction. The study takes an ethnographic approach and uses discourse analysis and tools from Actor-Network Theory. The material consists of observations made during an internship at the European Commission, 41 interviews with different actors, as well as policy documents, budgets and collected information about 160 supported projects with archaeological themes.

This research demonstrates how the expectations linked to archaeology have turned it into both a problem and a promise in the search for a 'usable past' for the EU. On the one hand, archaeology has functioned as an anchor, mooring the notion of a common heritage to something solid. On the other, because of its strong commitment to nationhood, what archaeology claims for its own has often undermined the very idea of a shared European inheritance. Projects benefitting from EU support have taken advantage of the expectations placed upon archaeology to help create a European identity, using buzzwords and 'application poetry' in their proposals. Many projects continuously used EU goals and symbols in their outputs. Sometimes a European past and present was connected by rhetorically tying archaeological periods (such as the Middle Ages and Roman Era) and phenomena (rock art or landscapes) to the EU political project. This link was more manifest in public settings than in academic ones. Taken together, the considerations brought up in this study show that funding matters. The EU strategy of vagueness, in which instructions and evaluation criteria foremost decide the frames but not the content of the projects, has inspired applicants to 'think Europe without thinking.' Once an application is written and submitted, a chain of translations by different actors works to depoliticise the act of constructing Europe. The EU, just as other funding bodies, has become entangled in the political ecology of archaeology. An entanglement which is unavoidable, but which needs to be critically addressed. Funding sources matter for the way we understand both the past and the meaning of archaeology in the present.

Abstract [sv]

Denna avhandling undersöker hur Europa skapas i gränslandet mellan arkeologi, pengar och politik inom den Europeiska Unionens kulturpolitiska finansieringsprogram. Vid sidan av symboliska attribut såsom flagga och nationalsång har företrädare för den Europeiska Gemenskapen och EU engagerat sig i idén om ett gemensamt europeiskt kulturarv, på ett metaforiskt såväl som ett materiellt plan. Politisk legitimitet har sökts med hänvisning till en mångtusenårig samhörighet. I samband med detta engagemang har arkeologer och kulturarvsarbetare sedan 1970-talet erhållit finansiellt stöd för restaureringsprojekt på platser av europeisk betydelse och transnationella samarbetsprojekt som kan skapa europeiskt mervärde.

Studien undersöker banden mellan EU och arkeologi genom att lyfta finansiering som en plats för interaktion och meningsskapande. En etnografisk metod har tillämpats, där empirin består av fältobservationer från en praktikantperiod på Europeiska kommissionen, 41 intervjuer med olika aktörer, samt policydokument och arkeologiska texter. En databas med 160 arkeologiska projekt har även skapats. Diskursanalys och nätverksteoretiska begrepp såsom översättningar och svarta lådan har använts för att lokalisera och begreppsliggöra iakttagelser och meningsfulla skärningspunkter i materialet.

Studien visar hur EU-tjänstemän, expertgranskare, konsulter och arkeologer alla deltar i utformandet av arkeologiska problemställningar och byggandet av professionella nätverk. EUs mjuka strategier, inom vilka instruktioner och utvärderingskriterier främst bestämmer ramarna men inte innehållet i de finansierade projekten, har inspirerat sökande att tänka Europa utan att tänka. När en ansökan skrivs och lämnas in startar en kedja av översättningar som leder till att olika aktörer avpolitiserar skapandet av Europa i samtiden. I resultaten framkom att arkeologiska projekt, genom att använda EUs målformuleringar i sina projektansökningar, ofta har utnyttjat EUs förväntningar på arkeologi om att skapa en europeisk identitet. I flera projekt knöts en europeisk samhörighet i det förflutna samman med dagens EUropa. Dessutom fortsatte många projekt att använda EUs mål och symboler i sina outputs. Här var EU-kopplingen tydligare i publika sammanhang än i akademiska. Sammantaget visar studien att val av finansieringskälla spelar stor roll. EUs finansieringsprogram har blivit en del av arkeologins politiska ekologi, en sammanflätning som är oundviklig men viktig att kritiskt uppmärksamma. Dessa band påverkar både vår syn på det förflutna och samhällets syn på arkeologi idag.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies, Stockholm University , 2016. , 332 p.
Series
Stockholm Studies in Archaeology, ISSN 0349-4128 ; 66
Keyword [en]
archaeology, cultural heritage, political economy, socio-politics, funding, European Union, archaeological ethnographies, identity politics, black box, European added value, culture policy, heritage values, political anthropology
National Category
Archaeology
Research subject
Archaeology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-124091ISBN: 978-91-7649-320-5 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-124091DiVA: diva2:884898
Public defence
2016-02-26, Nordenskiöldsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrenius väg 12, Stockholm, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2016-02-03 Created: 2015-12-12 Last updated: 2017-02-23Bibliographically approved

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