Virtual Repatriation: It Is Neither Virtual nor Repatriation
Virtual Repatriation has caught the attention of the anthropological, archaeological, museological, and indigenous communities in recent years. The conjoined terms have been applied to everything from an alternative for material repatriation, to Reciprocal Research Networks, to almost any form of digital data sharing with source communities. There is no doubt that there is, and has been, a great number of good works that designate themselves as Virtual Repatriation. However, the problem, as we see it, is not the works themselves, in most instances, but the conjunction of the “virtual” with “repatriation.” In this chapter, the authors will challenge the use of the terms “virtual,” but mostly the term “repatriation” in conjunction with anything but patrimony. The challenge is not merely pedantic, but points to the larger social and political implications, and communal and historic consequences, of collapsing patrimony with their representations.
KeywordsDigital Object Data Sharing Source Community Social Computing Tribal Nation
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