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Exorcising the ‘plague of fantasies’: mass media and archaeology’s role in the present; or, why we need an archaeology of ‘now’

Harrison, Rodney (2010). Exorcising the ‘plague of fantasies’: mass media and archaeology’s role in the present; or, why we need an archaeology of ‘now’. World Archaeology, 42(3) pp. 328–340.

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DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00438243.2010.497339
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Abstract

Taking as its starting point Slavoj Žižek’s (1997) The Plague of Fantasies, this paper considers how the electronic mediascape and its contagious practices have come to dominate all areas of contemporary reportage and history-making. It suggests that Web 2.0’s reliance on ‘mob thinking’ and ‘wiki-histories’ can lead to a rapid and widespread erasure of alternative accounts and nondominant narratives. Against this background, the paper explores the urgency of developing an ‘archaeology of now’ which could provide a stimulus for the exploration of marginal and subaltern viewpoints and alternative contemporary histories. Such an archaeology might involve not only a focus on contemporary material evidence, but also the analysis of virtual material culture and the excavation of virtual media to reveal the power structures and micro-histories of the World Wide Web’s dominant narratives. The paper is intentionally provocative, and aims to stimulate a broader engagement with an archaeology of the present.

Item Type: Journal Article
Copyright Holders: 2010 Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 1470-1375
Extra Information: Special Issue: Archaeology and Contemporary Society
Keywords: archaeologies of the present; electronic mediascape; Web 2.0; 'mob thinking'; virtual material culture; cyber-archaeology
Academic Unit/Department: Arts > History
Interdisciplinary Research Centre: OpenSpace Research Centre (OSRC)
Item ID: 23722
Depositing User: Rodney Harrison
Date Deposited: 19 Oct 2010 11:35
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2014 12:42
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/23722
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