Participatory Action Research and Archaeology

Fred L. McGhee

in The Oxford Handbook of Public Archaeology

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199237821
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Archaeology

Participatory Action Research and Archaeology

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  • Archaeology
  • Contemporary and Public Archaeology



Participatory Action Research (PAR) refers to a research methodology that aims to transform communities for the better, and in which positive social change is an explicit goal. This article explains the concept of PAR and situates its use within the archaeology practice, which is located primarily within the private sector, sometimes referred to as ‘Cultural Resource Management’ (CRM). It also illustrates a short case study to highlight how PAR operated (with mixed success) in one particular CRM project. Finally, the article states that efforts to integrate PAR into CRM practice can at last introduce some degree of reflexivity into private sector archaeology discourse, similar to long-standing ruminations about the role of the researcher and the politics of fieldwork that have been occurring in cultural anthropology and other disciplines for some time.

Keywords: participatory action research; archaeology; cultural resource management; private sector archaeology

Article.  7668 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology ; Contemporary and Public Archaeology

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