Archaeology and Economic Development 2012

Regional Perspectives on Government, Archaeology and Economic Development: The Americas

The paper starts by discussing economic development and government through a critical approach. It discusses the role of democracy and the rule of law and the relationship between economic development and public policies aiming at improving the lives of ordinary people. It is argued that diminishing social inequalities is a shared concerned and public policies are set up by democratic states to cope with this goal. The paper then turns to archaeology as a practice resulting from economic development and public policies. 

For the first century and a half, the discipline has been both scholarly and upper class and part of the array of empire. Later, archaeology has been increasingly considered as a socially relevant endeavour, and for this CRM and other economic development trends contributed a lot, particularly in the Americas. There, economic development, democracy and the rule of law have been especially related in the last few decades in both the developed and developing areas of the Western Hemisphere. The paper concludes by stressing the role of public archaeology and social commitment for a brighter and progressive role for archaeology in economic development in the future, in the Americas and beyond.

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