Alternative Interpretive Landscapes: Representations of Archaeology in Australian Poetry

01st June 2009

Emma M. Ward

BA(Hons), School of Social Science, The University of Queensland, May 2008

In this thesis I use content analysis to explore representations of archaeology in alternative media production of poetry in Australia. Studies into how archaeology is perceived by the Australian public reveal a number of stereotypes about the discipline and those who practice it. These stereotypes have been demonstrated to be prevalent within media depictions of archaeology. Previous research into archaeology in the media has focused on mainstream media production, leaving alternative media representations of archaeology poorly understood. Alternative media offer a means of production to individuals and organisations outside the traditional power structures of the corporate media industry and academic or private archaeological practice, providing a broader cross-section of the community with the means to contribute to archaeological knowledge and dialogues. This study analyses a dataset of 64 Australian poems about, or relating to, archaeology. Analysis revealed that stereotypes and misconceptions about archaeology are reinforced through this form of media production, specifically that there is no archaeology of note in Australia, that archaeology is all about digging, that archaeologists are interested in rocks and that all archaeologists are male and either eccentric or an explorer.

Emma M. Ward
Alternative Interpretive Landscapes: Representations of Archaeology in Australian Poetry
June 2009
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Thesis Abstracts
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