Bērziņa, Diāna and Donna Yates (2021) Challenging the status quo. Review of: Field, Les , Cristóbal Gnecco & Joe Watkins (eds). Challenging the dichotomy: the licit and the illicit in archaeological and heritage discourses. x, 229 pp., illus., bibliogrs. Tucson: Univ. of Arizona Press, 2016. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 27(3): 701-702.
Dualities are required to maintain the status quo, to serve the interests of one group over another. The social world is constructed from these dualities, supported by narratives where we polarize actions that could be considered the same within another contextual or cultural frame. The concept of the ‘illicit’ challenges this dual construct. Unlike the term ‘illegal’, which is used to refer to actions that break the law, illicit is a term for a grey area that exists outside or beyond our concept of legality. To say that something is illicit implies a complicated situation, a contested reality. Conducting research into illicitness means occupying this in-between space of indefinites and uncertainty, where context is key, and where nothing is absolute. This is also where we place the various chapters showcased in Les Field, Cristóbal Gnecco, and Joe Watkins’s edited Challenging the dichotomy: the grey area where heritage is actually experienced and enacted.