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Trigger 1980). our epistemologies. and because it is supported and validated by dominant social and political interests. a reflective sociology of archaeology. Leone's (1973:129) that nations would spend millions of dollars annually on archaeology only for an important purpose: to obtain "an empirical substantiation of national mythology. 342-350. Kendall 1982. University of South Carolina. Gero Archaeologists. The emphasis is on archaeology as more than a socially-embedded activity. concentrating on European Joan M.50(2). Kristiansen 1981. have maintained the myth of objective research far longer than have researchers in other social science disciplines. Wylie 1981. the discipline is becoming aware that our notions of the past. an applied archaeology (Claassen 1982. Because of its focus on the value-laden past. for instance. Department of Anthropology. 1983). tracing back the purportedly single line of cultural traditions. 20 Oct 2014 05:49:58 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . particularly the prehistoric archaeologist. archaeology must also serve the ideology of the state that supports it. 1983b. and. providing a geographically-bounded past for contemporary North Americans. and second. however. pp. Eurocentric value system. Now at 50. finally. are far from value-neutral. The archaeologist.SOCIO-POLITICS AND THE WOMAN-AT-HOME IDEOLOGY Joan M. In North America. critical appraisals of methodology (Moore and Keene 1983). our research emphases. that the development of prehistory coincides with and reinforces the development of nationalism. Researchers in the socio-politics of archaeology ask how the objects of our studies and the methods that we use.175.Blakey(1983:6-7) has used the Fifth International Directory ofAnthropologists (Tax 1975) to show first. research sites are not determined by geographical proximity to North America but rather by proximity to our Judeo-Christian. the "cowboys of science" (Alaskan bumper sticker 1981) have dabbled little in self-reflective criticism. 1983b). the focus of this paper. 1983a. Kelley and Hanen 1985." indicate an awareness that archaeology is fundamentally tied to and conditioned by the larger society that supports it. 1985. that outside these boundaries. Focused on action. and that requires the services of. elite specialists to produce and control the past. It is only the state that can support. the methods we employ in our research. as explorers and discoverers. Historical insights such as Ford's (1973:84). SC 29208 AmericanAntiquity. our starting assumptions and our observational categories. can produce for the state either a geographically-focused past (a prehistory of land-use relevant to a bounded nation or region). a critical historiography of archaeology (Fahnestock 1984. Gero. McCartney 1982). or a cultural past.234 on Mon. RESEARCH IN SOCIO-POLITICS Archaeology is fundamentally and uniquely an institution of state-level society. Meltzer 1983a.18. and the interpretations we bring to and distill from our investigations." or Clarke's (1973:6) reflective comments on "the transitions from consciousness through self-consciousness to critical self-consciousness. that North American archaeologists work primarily on their own continent. Columbia. are all structured and constrained by the state society that underwrites archaeological endeavor. our explanatory theories and our interpretations. Suddenly we are witnessing the appearance of several new critical approaches to the articulation between archaeological undertakings and the social conditions in which they are achieved. which has been called the socio-politics of archaeology (Gero et al. We see a critical philosophy of archaeology (Hanen and Kelley 1983. Copyright( 1985 by the Society for AmericanArchaeology 342 This content downloaded from 212.

and Wilk's 1983 treatment of how the Vietnam war and the ecology movement affected Mayan archaeology).Gero] SOCIO-POLITICS IN ARCHAEOLOGY 343 and Middle Eastern data over African and Asian data as a reflection of the ethnic roots of the majority of North Americans (see also Kelley and Hanen 1985:chapter 4). This content downloaded from 212. Schuyler 1976). and that indeed may not be escapable: that of making the past appear like the present.175. 1984a). 1984b. prejudices. In this case study. Wobst 1983). studies of the "structure of rewards" and "matrix of constraints" that characterize the political economy of archaeology (Wobst and Keene 1983) depend on a broad definition of a conditioning present. For instance. or the dominant interests. one that spans the 40-50 years in which archaeology has been practiced more or less as it is today. Archaeology consistently misrepresents the past by making it seem a logical precedent for the present. socio-political research can expose archaeologists' contributions to justifying the economic hierarchy and social distinctions. and in representing the past directly to the public (Blakey 1983. Leone 1973. identifying the present as a narrow band of contemporaneity allows short-lived intellectual fashions and pivotal political events to be traced directly into archaeological explanations and reconstructions (see Trigger's [1981:151] views of catastrophe theory in these terms. biological difference. The development of socio-political consciousness in archaeology is best served by recognizing how the multi-layered constraints reinforce one another and inadvertently structure our work. upholding the fundamental asymmetries encompassed by the state. Meltzer 1981.234 on Mon. and politics come to be embedded in our work. we look not only at how unexamined assumptions about gender structure our interpretations of the past. and how we. Moreover. permitting clear distinctions to be made in today's populations and in the skeletal populations of the past. indeed. 1984b). we do better to examine the many ways that the political context of research is reflected in selected ideological issues. Socio-political analyses on this level reveal more general structural constraints on our work. Wilk 1983). overlaying a "paradigm of the present" (Conkey 1982:5) on archaeological interpretation and reconstruction. 1982. Alternatively. We can go further and specify a specific bias that the state requires of archaeologists. in assigning causation and motivation in prehistory (Trigger 1981. While very much a belief system and social product (Rubin 1975:165-166). Meltzer 1981). allowing the policy-makers of today and of prehistory to "take themselves and their position as granted and convince others that the way things are is the way they always had been and should remain" (Leone 1984b:34. In order to move past contemplation and toward change. in applying and misapplying specific research methods (Kus 1983. gender also has an empirical aspect. the same society. of the state (Gero 1983b) is really only a point of departure for the socio-politics of archaeology. Perhaps this seems self-evident. Paynter 1983. Finally. perhaps unwittingly. Leone 1982. participate in the process of imposing present on past: in selecting geographic research areas (Blakey 1983). archaeology suggests the present is an ineluctible and therefore legitimate outcome of the past (Leone 1984a). we must be aware of exactly how present-day values. But allowing that archaeology serves the interest. norms. Lack of a uniform approach should not be worrisome at this time. An instructive example is representations of gender relations and gender ideology in archaeology. Leone 1981. the active present can be equated with participation in the maintenance of state-level society. the expectation of roughly 50% male and 50% female representation in all populations enables identification of culturally biased distributions and unequal visibility. THE SOCIO-POLITICS OF GENDER The subject of gender is particularly conducive to a socio-political analysis for several reasons. past and present. in specifying topics of research (Klejn 1977. 20 Oct 2014 05:49:58 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . At this level. in depicting patterns of social relationships in the past (Handsman 1983. but also at how these assumptions underwrite the gender relations among archaeologists today to produce in our research conclusions and in our professional lives. in isolating observational categories (Conkey and Spector 1984. A socio-political approach can expose the various means by which the present affects the archaeological past. 1984a.18. But we have still only set the stage for self-reflective inquiry. Wobst and Keene 1983). that underlies the social framework and can be extended back in time.

and contributions of the sexes" (Conkey and Spector 1984:10). and among them a stereotypic self-image as "masculine.175. Historically conservative. accomplishments. as the past duplicates and legitimates present-day norms and values. studying wear or paste or iconographic motifs. in the past decade. participated more actively in the climate of interest in gender had it not been for the profession's traditional structure of concerns and practices. energy levels. brings home the goodies. while explicit attention to women's roles in the archaeological past has been lacking. This community was slow to embrace a feminist perspective. the implicit gender models reconstruct male and female roles in the past much as they are stereotyped today. but also fed into. dominant. and sedentary female a primordial place in human evolution (Conkey and Spector 1984:8-9). visible. 1985 Archaeological Interpretations of Gender Recent concern with the archaeological study of gender (Conkey 1982. The androcentric interpretation and presentation of the past is both structured by. sorting and preparing archaeological materials. private. but the archaeologist himself concurs (Woodall and Perricone 1981). There is asymmetry in the visibility.344 AMERICANANTIQUITY [Vol. 50. protected. food-sharing and an inherited notion of a common home base insure the increasingly encumbered. we expect to find the female archaeologist secluded in the base-camp laboratory or museum. and far-ranging male counterparts. but without recognized contribution to the productive process." Drawn in part from male-centered ethnographies and in part from the personal experiences of most archaeologists as modern males in a state level society. Corresponding. the archaeological enterprise is also dominated by white. passive. typologizing. Conkey and Spector 1984. exploratory. Archaeological Research and Gender Following this reasoning still further. She will have to do the archaeological housework. Not only have grave goods been interpreted differently when recovered from male versus female burial contexts (pestles found with female burials are evidence of grinding and food processing. Females. In this scenario. have recently offered a significant analysis of how gender ideology is manifested in archaeological research. home-oriented tasks in contrast to their public." and "active" prevails (Woodall and Perricone 1981). We are alerted to certain strong parallels between the male who populates the archaeological record-public. then. the larger ideological and symbolic domain of our contemporary society. As they point out. however. Moore 1985) was undoubtedly stimulated by publication. of literally hundreds of books and articles written from a feminist perspective. This content downloaded from 212. if noted. restricted. No. although such assertions "are so implicit as to be excluded from the attempts of archaeologists to confirm and validate them. physically active. perform a narrow range of passive.18. while pestles in male burials suggest the production of pestles or use as hammer-stones in other productive activities [in Winters 1968: 206]).234 on Mon. 20 Oct 2014 05:49:58 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . and are portrayed more actively and more frequently than femaleassociated activities. and rugged. which offer very low or even negative prestige for engaging in such discourse. like the socio-cultural anthropologists." and descriptions of male activities "are more detailed. It is clear that a set of unexamined assumptions about gender has crept into archaeological interpretation. 1983a). productive. Even the language applied to archaeological interpretations of male behaviors differs from that applied to female behaviors: males perform "activities" while females engage in "tasks." "strong. to the stereotyped male. and takes his data raw! Not only does the public uphold this image of the archaeologist (Gero 1981. ordering and systematizing. gender assertions have been made regularly in reconstructions of the past. 2. middle-class males (Hanen and Kelley 1983). passively receptive. but the very basis of human existence now rests on reconstructions of a strict sexual division of labor that is extended back to a proto-human era. seriating. The woman-at-home archaeologist must fulfill her stereotypic feminine role by specializing in the analysis of archaeological materials. Conkey and Spector (1984:5-14) provide examples of how archaeological interpretations of gender roles in the past have been skewed by the "presentist" ideology. the stereotypic hunter-and the practicing field archaeologist who himself conquers the landscape. Conkey and Spector (1984). we can expect archaeologists to conform in their professional roles to the same ideological constructs they adopt to explain the past. Archaeologists might have responded earlier and.

Gero] SOCIO-POLITICSIN ARCHAEOLOGY 345 If this sexual division of labor actually exists in archaeological research. 81% of the dissertations based on field research. We can also extrapolate from this sequence that in the last 10 years males have dropped from conducting between 92% and 95% (in 1960-1974) to only 75-78% of the field-based dissertation research (in 1975-1984). A more developmental look at the gender division in archaeology was also attempted. Looked at another way. however. however. where the research of only three female archaeologists can be tallied. Disregarding the dramatic over-representation of males in all these data. are obviously a function of sample size. in the years 1979-1980. these statistics offer a contemporary view of archaeological developments. and the apparent inconsistencies in the two earliest five-year periods. Because funding for these projects is probably the most prestigious available for archaeological research. I have used three means to examine how male and female archaeologists apportion their research between field-based research projects and non-field-based projects. projects where the investigator analyzes data that she or he did not collect from an archaeological context. as is evident in the slightly larger sample from the 1965-1969 period. males are slightly more heavily represented in field-related research than are females (except within NSF projects where males and females participate equally in field-related research). Females on the other hand. 46% of the non-field-based dissertations. then male archaeologists would be concentrated in field-based research. The second is based on recently completed dissertation research in archaeology as described in Dissertation Abstracts International. In the earlier samples. males and females were fulfilling very similar research roles. undertaking projects that include the collection of primary data from excavations or surveys. because I suspect that in those years. The first reflects current Mesoamerican research as self-reported in American Antiquity. males. account for 83% of all the current Mesoamerican field research. Conversely. who represent 74% of the total sample of archaeologists counted here. Dissertation abstracts were selected as the most accessible.18. Female archaeologists. In fact. a surprisingly homogeneous picture of gender roles can be seen to be operating in archaeological research. As soon as women enter the profession in larger numbers. Table 1 presents the results of all three measures taken on two two-year time periods. But this shift is fully accounted for by the swelling of the This content downloaded from 212. and 93% of all the NSF field research projects. 1960-1964 and 1965-1969. the trend is unambiguous: very close to two-thirds of the female archaeologists base their dissertation research on non-field oriented. analytic projects. after 1970. The third measure shows the distribution of funded National Science Foundation projects in archaeology as listed in NSF Grants and Awards. and 27% of the NSF nonfield research. and all the abstracts from the last 25 years of dissertations in anthropological archaeology were examined (Table 2).234 on Mon. and most sensitive data base for research done in archaeology. The tiny sample of females receiving doctorates in archaeology before 1970 makes comparisons unreliable for these years. would be involved in non-field projects. and where data collection is not a significant aspect of the research. most inclusive. by all measures. all measures demonstrate a significant trend toward a male preoccupation with field-based research and a female involvement with non-field oriented research. although males almost completely dominate the high-technology niche of archeometric (non-field) research. representing 26% of the total sample here. At the expense of not reflecting discipline-wide activity. undertake 45% of the current Mesoamerican non-field research. the proportion of females doing non-field related research is consistently twice as high as the proportion of males doing non-field research. Despite shortcomings. 20 Oct 2014 05:49:58 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . this data set represents a wide sample of active archaeological personnel predetermined by no other criteria than a common geographical focus. we are actually seeing an unrepresentative picture of females doing more non-field research. But interpretation of these figures is somewhat shaky given the low female counts. on the other hand. while very close to two-thirds of the males undertake fieldrelated research. My own hunch is that in 1960-1964. typically involving a heavy emphasis on fieldwork. 1967-1968 and 1979-1980. By 1979-1980. we can expect the discipline's norms and values to be exaggerated here. close to twice as high a proportion of male archaeologists do field-related research as female archaeologists. perhaps exhibiting biases germane to our argument. with the exception of the NSF research.175.

44 U 7a CZ CZ CZ oo gR > E cn t: This content downloaded from 212.18. 2. No. 00 kf) 00 0 E CZ c. 7. 20 Oct 2014 05:49:58 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions [Vol. 1985 . E 7.346 m CZ Zt t: 7 U rq 00 00 00 oo 00 "C 00 00 r- 00 00 00 -F r A kf) 8-0 'IC 8-0 oo 00 AMERICANANTIQUITY 7.175.234 on Mon. t: U . t: 7. 50. 7.

The fact that NSF applications by men were also significantly more successful overall than applications by women. Males Field 1960-1964 1965-1969 1970-1974 1975-1979 1980-1984a Females Non-Field Field Non-Field 62% 38% 33% n = 18 n = 11 n= I n= 2 73% n = 61 68% n = 141 61% n=176 62% n = 176 27% n = 22 32% n = 66 39% n=112 38% n = 107 75% n= 6 29% n = 13 37% n=49 34% n = 60 25% n= 2 71% n = 32 63% n=83 66% n = 115 67% a For 1984.175. It may be that archaeologists are bound and constrained by social and political ideology in ways that are different from other scholarly areas. where consistent proportions of field and non-field research are maintained but larger numbers of females contribute to field research each year. and 57% of the females funded by NSF did field research (compared to 32% of the female dissertation writers). John Yellen (1983:61-62) reports that among NSF applicants seeking field-related archaeology funds in 1979-1980. It was already noted in Table 1 that although the NSF non-field research done by women jumped significantly in 1979-1980.234 on Mon. contributes to. females were 28% successful if they followed their stereotyped sex roles and sought non-field-related research funds. fulfilling a male stereotype and indeed associated with male archaeologists. and that this is so precisely because archaeologists are charged with reproducing and legitimating the present in the past. The archaeologist partakes of. only the months of January through July are included in these counts. it may be inevitable that our research conclusions mirror current social ideology (Gould 1981:22). These figures suggest that archaeological field research. Conkey (1978:5).Gero] SOCIO-POLITICSIN ARCHAEOLOGY 347 Table 2. Because the construction of the past is so socially useful (even more useful. providing roots and constructing sequences that lead to contemporary values and practices. it never reached the same level as in the other types of research measured. is validated by. males were 35% successful while females were only 15% (or less than half as) successful. puts these findings in further perspective. On the other hand. It remains for reflective. Males' and Females' Dissertation Research from 25 Years of Dissertation Abstracts International. Moreover. The question then arises of whether women want to work in the field. 20 Oct 2014 05:49:58 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . perhaps. and dutifully records present-day social and political structures in the identification of research problems and in the interpretation of findings. especially in comparison with dissertation research: 87% of the males funded by NSF did field research (compared to 63% of the male dissertation writers). the success rates for males were unaffected by the nature of the proposed project. and that this was uniquely true for archaeology and not for either social or biological anthropology (Yellen 1983:60). Unlike females. This content downloaded from 212. an observation offered independently by M. state-controlled National Science Foundation. what emerges from Table 1 in regard to 1979-1980 NSF research is a particularly high representation offield-related research. socio-political research in archaeology to decipher the present while we unearth the past. for both males and females. is heavily emphasized by the prestigious. and because unambiguous data are so scarce.18. In fact. and here we return to the distribution of prestigious NSF funding in archaeology. female doctorate ranks. than many other areas of anthropological inquiry). and to distinguish the two whenever possible.

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