The Problem of Cultural Identity in the Contemporary Archaeological Practice

  • Zorica Kuzmanović Department of Archaeology Faculty of Philosophy University of Belgrade
culture, cultural identity, culture-historical archaeology, processual archaeology, postprocessual archaeology, multiculturalism


The decades-long reconsideration of the concept of culture in archaeology has been aimed at overcoming the traditional culture-historical concept, assuming culture as a relatively stable and homogeneous system of values characteristic of a certain group or a community of people. The practice of cultural classification of artefacts, based upon the premise that people linked by the production and usage of stylistically homogeneous material culture form a group with the feeling of communal identity, has been criticized as a reflection of ethnocentric projection of the modern idea of cultural identity. In spite of numerous critics of this concept, developed under the influence of various theoretical strains from the beginning of the 1960s, it seems that the implicit assumption is still present of the communal cultural identity of a group linked by the communal material culture. Furthermore, an attempt to counteract the critique and offer a multicultural interpretation of the past brings in the danger to rehabilitate the very concept of culture which archaeology has been trying to abandon for decades.


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How to Cite
Kuzmanović, Zorica. 2011. “The Problem of Cultural Identity in the Contemporary Archaeological Practice”. Issues in Ethnology and Anthropology 6 (3), 595-606.