Wedded to Privilege? Archaeology, Academic Capital, and Critical Public Engagement

Raphael Greenberg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Public and collaborative archaeological projects—many of them inspirational—have made headway in different parts of the world. But, as far as I can tell, they do not garner the same level of academic capital, or provide their practitioners with the same rewards, as other kinds of scientific or industrial collaboration. Moreover, in countries such as mine (Israel), where archaeology is imbricated in contestations of identity, historical narrative, and territorial claims, public archaeology projects are carefully co-opted by local or governmental institutions, so that any potentially disruptive impact may be contained, if not completely subverted. In what follows, I describe the current academic and extra-academic landscape and its implications for public engagement, commenting briefly on the possible ways forward, which require, I suggest, a patient commitment to a critical stance and a shift in the locus of archaeological desire—the driving passion of our discipline.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)481-495
Number of pages15
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2019


  • Critical archaeology
  • Digwashing
  • Israel/Palestine
  • Neoliberalism


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