Of straightening combs, sodium hydroxide, and potassium hydroxide in archaeological and cultural-anthropological analyses of ethnogenesis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

14 Scopus citations


In the contemporary world of nation-states, cultural anthropologists are increasingly drawn to the concept of ethnicity as a marker of the complex symbolic processes that mediate relations between the economic and political strata that form the "cultures" and "subcultures" of these units. They attempt to examine the overlapping and interlocking processes of historical consciousness from which members of ethnic groups derive an understanding of their "unity" and its shifting "reality," past, present, and future. This essay raises the question of whether cultural-anthropological conceptions of these processes can be fruitfully utilized by archaeologists who remain dependent on material culture as primary evidence, or by those who accept bounded groups as units that move through time, simultaneously constructing varied historical perspectives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)608-612
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Antiquity
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 1992


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Archaeology
  • Museology

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