Experiencing Place: An Auto-Ethnography on Digging and Belonging

Steve Brown

Abstract


This article is concerned with personal heritage and the role of material things in the construction of place-attachment. My interest lies in interrogating my own sense of place-attachment (or belonging) to my home. I argue that personal experience can provide comparative information for investigating other peoples’ experiences of their ‘special places’. That is, by critically reflecting on my own connectivity to place I aim to gain a base-level of data that informs my understandings of other peoples’ experiences of place; that is, the social values of heritage places and/or archaeological sites. I argue that self-awareness and reflexivity are important tools in the work of archaeologists who seek to recognise and respect personal and communal place-attachments.

Keywords


Material culture; place; attachment; heritage; archaeology; community; suburbia

Full Text:

PDF HTML

References


ABC News, 'Shots fired into Sydney home', 2006, accessed 26 June 2009.

Andrew M. Jones and Nicole Boivin, 'The malice of inanimate objects: material agency', in Dan Hicks and Mary C. Beaudry (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Material Culture Studies, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2010, pp291-309.

Barbara Bender, Sue Hamilton and Chris Tilley, Stone Worlds: Narrative and Reflexivity in Landscape Archaeology, Left Coast Press, Walnut Creek, California, p66.

Colin Renfrew, 'Towards a theory of material engagement', in Elizabeth DeMarrais, Chris Gosden and Colin Renfrew (eds), Rethinking Materiality: The Engagement of Mind with the Material World, McDonald Institute of Archaeological Research, Cambridge, 2004, pp23-32.

Daniel J Siegel, The Developing Mind: How Relationships and the Brain Interact to Shape Who We Are, Second Edition, The Guilford Press, New York and London, 2012, p50.

Daniel Miller, Stuff, Polity, Cambridge and Malden, 2010.

David Trigger, 'Place, belonging and nativeness in Australia', in Frank Varclay, Matthew Higgins and Adam Blackshaw (eds), Making Sense of Place, National Museum of Australia, Canberra, 2008, p302.

Denis Byrne, 'Messages to Manilla', in Ingereth A.S. Macfarlane with Mary-Jane Mountain and Robert Paton (eds), Many Exchanges: Archaeology, History, Community and the Work of Isabel McBryde, Aboriginal History Monograph 11, 2005, pp53-62.

Elijar Anderson, 'Jelly's place: an ethnographic memoir', in Dick Hobbs and Richard Wright (eds), The Sage Handbook of Fieldwork, Sage, London, 2006, pp39-58. https://doi.org/10.4135/9781848608085.n3

Gavin Lucas, 'Fieldwork and collecting', in Dan Hicks and Mary C. Beaudry (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Material Culture Studies, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2010, p230-235.

Heewon Chang, Autoethnography as Method, Left Coast Press, Walnut Creek, California, 2008.

Ian Hodder, Entangled: An Archaeology of the Relationships between Humans and Things, Wiley-Blackwell, West Sussex, 2012. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118241912

Igor Kopytoff, 'The cultural biography of things: commoditization as process', in Arjun Appadurai (ed), The Social Life of Things: Commodities in Cultural Perspective, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1986, pp64-91. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511819582.004

Ingereth A.S. Macfarlane, 'Entangled Places: Interactive Histories in the Western Simpson Desert', Central Australia, PhD dissertation, The Australian National University, 2010.

James Clifford and George E. Marcus (eds), Writing Culture: The Poetics and Politics of Ethnography, California University Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1986.

Jane Bennett, Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things, Duke University Press, Durham and London, 2010, ppviii-xiii.

Joan M. Schwartz, 'Complicating the picture: place and memory between representation and reflection', in James Opp and John C. Walsh (eds), Placing Memory and Remembering Place in Canada, UBC Press, Vancouver, 2010, p302.

Jonna Ulin, 'In the space of the past: a family archaeology', in Cornelius Holtorf and Angela Piccini (eds), Contemporary Archaeologies: Excavating Now, Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main, 2009, pp145-159.

Karen Barad, Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning, Duke University Press, Durham and London, 2007, pp183-185. https://doi.org/10.1215/9780822388128

L. Phillips, 'Sydney shootings', 2012, accessed 10 January 2014.

Laurajane Smith and Emma Waterton, Heritage, Communities and Archaeology, Duckworth, London, 2009, p24.

Laurent Olivier, The Dark Abyss of Time: Archaeology and Memory, (translated by Arthur Greenspan) AltaMira Press, Lanham, 2011.

Michael Shanks, The Archaeological Imagination, Left Coast Press, Walnut Creek, California, 2012, p42.

N. Ralston and G. Kwek, '100 shootings and counting: Merrylands tops drive-by list', Sydney Morning Herald, 11 September 2012.

Randall Mason, 'Assessing values in conservation planning: methodological issues and choices', in Marta de la Torre (ed), Assessing the Values of Cultural Heritage: Research Report, The Getty Conservation Institute, Los Angeles, 2002, pp5-30.

Rodney Harrison, 'Surface assemblages: towards an archaeology in and of the present', Archaeological Dialogues, vol 18, no 2, 2011, pp141-161. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1380203811000195

Steve Brown, 'Place-attachment in Heritage Theory and Practice: A Personal and Ethnographic Study', PhD dissertation, The University of Sydney, 2015.

Steve Brown, 'Toward an archaeology of the twentieth-century suburban backyard', Archaeology in Oceania, vol 47, no 2, 2012, pp99-106. https://doi.org/10.1002/j.1834-4453.2012.tb00122.x

Thomas D. Andrews and Susan Buggey, 'Authenticity in Aboriginal cultural landscapes', APT Bulletin, vol 39, nos 2/3, 2004, pp63-71.

Tim Ingold, 'Materials against materiality', Archaeological Dialogues, vol 14, no 1, 2007, pp1-16. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1380203807002127

Tom Griffiths, Hunters and Collectors: The Antiquarian Imagination in Australia, Cambridge University Press, 1996.

Vered Amit and Nigel Rapport, The Trouble with Community: Anthropological Reflections on Movement, Identity and Collectivity, Pluto Press, London, 2002.

Yannis Hamilakis, 'Archaeological ethnography: A multitemporal meeting ground for archaeology and anthropology', Annual Review of Anthropology, vol 40, 2011, pp399-414. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-anthro-081309-145732




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5130/phrj.v23i0.5327