Concepts of community in the pursuit of an inclusive archaeology

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Concepts of community in the pursuit of an inclusive archaeology

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International Journal of Heritage Studies


Agbe-Davies, Anna S.

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Taylor and Francis Online




Abstract: Community is a key concept that shapes how we approach our relationships with other individuals and groups. In this article, the author reviews how scholars and laypeople alike use the concept of ‘community’ in both theoretical and applied contexts. What do heritage professionals expect from the communities with whom they work? How do these communities define and constitute themselves? The answers to such questions have broad implications for the way that scholars interact and collaborate with stakeholders. Examples are presented from the author’s archaeological projects at sites associated with communities in the African diaspora that illustrate the importance of an explicit and critical approach to the idea of ‘community’. The discussion concludes with preliminary findings from an investigation of the meanings of community among black Chicagoans in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.


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