IMG_20150218_095648Archaeologists are interested in the relationship between material culture and emotion. We tend to focus on love and fear, especially in mortuary archaeology. Tombs might express loss, sorrow, love, for example, revealed in the text, ornamentation, choice of material, maintenance and offerings placed upon tombs. Certain treatments afforded to the corpse, however, might be seen as motivated by fear of the ghost or hatred of the dead person, such as post-mortem decapitation and prone burial. I haven’t read as much about settlement archaeology, but I wonder how much the ‘archaeology of emotions’ has permeated how we interrogate land, property, fields, farms and dwellings?

What about the material culture of anger? This leads me to an example, because I feel seaside towns and villages bring out the anger in modern British society and display striking instances of ‘angry material culture’. I suspect this is because every seaside resort is a kind of seasonal war zone in which locals and tourists rely on each other’s presence but detest each other in equal measure. Furthermore, the vicious capitalist obsession with property and possession of land is condensed and distilled to a bitter bile because of conflict and tensions over spatial proximity and access to, and visual interaction over, shore and sea. This has physical manifestations in boundaries (walls, fences etc.), car parking signs, restrictions and locations, and signs which seem magnified in their severity in order to demarcate and direct tourists to popular spaces and away from private property.

Is there a relationship between tourism and angry material culture?

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