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The Archaeology of EthnogenesisRace and Sexuality in Colonial San Francisco$
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Barbara L. Voss

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780813061252

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813061252.001.0001

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Ethnogenesis and the Archaeology of Identity

Ethnogenesis and the Archaeology of Identity

(p.9) 1 Ethnogenesis and the Archaeology of Identity
The Archaeology of Ethnogenesis

Barbara L. Voss

University Press of Florida

Identity is the means through which social subjects are constructed into relationships of similarity and difference. This chapter advocates theoretical pluralism in the study of identity. Theories of social iteration advanced by Pierre Bourdieu, Anthony Giddens, and Judith Butler are brought into dialogue with Michel Foucault, Gerald Sider, Clifford Geertz, and Arjun Appadurai’s theories of power and materiality. From this vantage point, the dichotomy between primordialist and instrumentalist models of ethnicity is false: neither can account for the persistence of ethnic distinction in certain historic moments and the rapid transformation of identities in others. The study of ethnogenesis adds a temporal component to theories of identity. Many researchers have argued that ethnogenesis is a form of subaltern resistance to external domination. This study challenges this view by examining a case in which ethnogenesis was a means through which colonial settlers achieved domination and control over indigenous populations.

Keywords:   Ethnogenesis, identity, resistance, domination, colonial, indigenous, materiality, power

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