Saturday, 11 November 2017

The Reawakening of Old Ghosts

'Pure Blood and Sober Minds' Straight Edge and a nihilistic 'Europe will be White or Depopulated'
'One road, strike, strike' the sig-rune and 'nationalism in capitalism'
As government and Church 'authorities' look on passively, fascists and racists march through my city on the anniversary of Krystallnacht (Nazi Germany, 9–10 November Free City of Danzig, 12–13 November) expressing their resistance to potential cultural change in coming years through immigration and ethnic cleansing as a remedy for all social ills, I wonder where are the anthropologists and cultural heritage professionals and why are they not initiating and participating in a (very) public debate countering such ideas? What is culture and how does it change? As an archaeologist, I see the question still has no very clear answers, but cultural change is certainly not the black-and-white issue which is represented by the views of the masked men in the street and the populist politicians who stand behind them. They are totally unaware of the debate that has been conducted on this for at least half a century. Why? Is that our fault, or theirs? Is this not where cultural heritage, identity and related issues has a direct interconnect with modern lives? Why then are the nuances not being highlighted. It seems to me that identity is increasingly a major political issue and social motor - yet those whose work and research address the issue (and that goes for my own 'official' research area) are strangely loathe to wade into the fray - but perhaps this is not a time for diffidence.

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