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The past as a source of pleasure
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The subject of this paper is a past, or more precisely archaeologically created past, seen as a reservoir of pleasure. The category of pleasure along with different ways of searching for it and satisfying by contemporary human beings constitutes the main theme of discussion. These issues will be addressed within the context of contemporary changes in attitudes towards the past as well as consumer society with its dominant phenomena (e.g., ludic tendencies, carnavalisation of culture and various aspects of life etc.). In this paper I propose two theses, namely: 1) in a contemporary world the past, being a point of reference for archaeological (and historical) investigation may constitute a source of pleasure or inspiration for searching for it; b) the ways of presentification of the past and consequently forms of its presence to a certain degree have been subjugated by the rules that traditionally have been reserved to the domains of entertainment and consumption. Thus, I argue that the past being presented and experienced in such a way can provide certain pleasures by the medium of re-constructions and staging of the past events that often are arranged in such a way as to fulfill the expectations of the mass tourists and allow them an active participation and entertainment. These more theoretical issues will be next illustrated with practical case studies, concerning: a) the pleasure of exploring and getting to know about the past, mainly during archaeological excavations, with an emphasis placed on the role of emotions and senses associated with discoveries; b) the pleasure referred to the phenomenon of historical reenactment, gained both from participation in staging the past events and watching such kinds of spectacles, as well as through direct (sensory) contact with the past; c) archaeological fętes seen from a perspective of pleasure associated with the methods of learning / educating about the past, as well as ludic aspects, which in my opinion constitute their crucial component.
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