Sunday, 10 December 2017

Bullying and Silencing in Academia and On the Web

Hi all,

We have been talking a lot about social media and how it is/can be used by archaeologists but what happens when this blows up? After all of our website review presentations I have become really fascinated with how these fantastical alternative explanations for things arise. One thing that I noticed when looking through comments and social media when doing my own project was how sterile the comments tended to be. they were overwhelmingly positive. This (again) was a common theme we saw when examining the websites. It seems that much of this positivity and community participation is carefully cultivated. Those who don't agree are either removed from the conversation or are bullied away.

We as archaeologists feel that we are in the majority or the position of dominance however it seems that these communities are growing. They are often motivated by some form of ideology that doesn't mesh with our approaches or what we as academics know to be true. We often see bullying, like that in the case of Mary Beard (who was outspoken on the state of multiracial families in Roman Britian), being used to silence those who speak against this.

I don't believe that conversations on heritage should just be a matter of who can speak the loudest. There have been a number of claims in heritage that have resulted in the truth being obscured or ignored just because of influence. The myths surrounding the mounds of North America are one example of this that is still sometimes debated today by those who still are in disbelief of First Nations people building these earthworks.

Going forward I think it will certainly be hard to change these sorts of ideologies as for those that believe them they are firmly ingrained. When doing my website review the general consensus i found among patrons of these sites was that they felt ignored, and that their ideas were not being represented in media. As a result they search for publishers of similar ideas. We don't really have much power against this but what can we do to defend our discipline? Is there anything?

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