S. Paliienko Discussion on the Professional Identity of Archaeologist

DOI: 10.20535/2307-5244.52.2021.236169

Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv

The anthropology of professions is a sub-discipline that studies professionals’
subcultures, a process of scientific production, and its interaction with different
parts of modern society. But in Ukraine, this field did not develop for a long
time. Recently, the articles of Yulia Buyskykh on the subculture of Ukrainian archaeologists
and Olena Soboleva dedicated to zoologists were published. In her
study, Buyskykh investigated the Ukrainian archaeological community which
had formed during the Soviet time. For this purpose, interviews with Ukrainian
academic scholars as well as published records on Russian archaeologists became
the main source for the research. Buyskykh stated that the archaeological
professional subculture had similarities in the post-Soviet countries.
The aim of this article is to prove this statement and to make an attempt to
find differences between scholar culture in Ukraine and Russia and between representatives
of former central archaeological institutions (Moscow and St. Petersburg)
and regional research centres, between male and female archaeologists.
The article is dedicated to the ‘Problem of identity and academic ethos’ which
is the first part of the author’s questionnaire. In total, the author recorded and
processed eight interviews with archaeologists from Kyiv (one female employee
from the Center of monument studies of NASU), Moscow (one male and two female
employees from the Institute of archaeology RAS), and St. Petersburg (one
male and two female employees from the Institute for the History of Material Culture RAS and the St. Petersburg State University). The author compared her
findings with materials from Buyskykh’s survey. For her study, Buyskykh interviewed
ten Ukrainian archaeologists (two female and eight male), and nine out
ten are current or former research fellows from the Institute of archaeology NASU.
In their interviews, respondents mentioned specific features including attachment
to artefacts and material world, sense of style, patience, and disregard for
money. All respondents emphasised the contrast between field researchers and
cabinet scientists in archaeology but evaluated it in a different way. And the majority
of participants confirmed the effect their profession caused on everyday
life. Female archaeologists feel this influence more than male professionals due
to the extra family responsibilities.
Respondents from the former central Soviet archaeological institutions and
Kyiv archaeologists gave similar answers to the questions about features of professional
archaeologists and about the profession’s effects on everyday life. At
the same time, they have a different attitude towards cabinet scientists in archaeology.
It is neutral in Moscow and St. Petersburg and mostly negative in Kyiv.
That is similar to the opinion of Russian regional archaeologists described by T.
Lubchanskaya. Therefore, can confirm Buyskykh’s statement about the similarity
of archaeological professional subculture in the post-Soviet area.

Keywords: anthropology of science, archaeological community, professional
identity, Soviet archaeology, subculture of profession.


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