The archaeology of market capitalism: a Western Australian perspective

Gay Marion Nayton

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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The area claimed by the British Empire as Western Australia was primarily colonized through two major thrusts: the development of the Swan River Colony to the southwest in 1829, and the 1863 movement of Australian born settlers to colonize the northwest region.
The Western Australian story is overwhelmingly the story of the spread of market capitalism, a narrative which is at the foundation of modern western world economy and culture. Due to the timing of settlement in Western Australia there was a lack of older industrial capitalist infrastructure which elsewhere evoked geographical inertia modifying and deforming new market capitalist systems. This makes delineating the systemic patterns which grew out of market capitalist forces clearer than in older settlement areas making the area ideal for research on the effects of market capitalism. However, the struggle between the forces of market capitalism, settlers and indigenous Australians over space, labor, physical and economic resources and power relationships are both unique to place and time and universal in allowing an understanding of how such complicated regional, interregional and global forces shape a settler society.
Through an examination of historical records, town layout and architecture, landscape analysis, excavation data, and material culture analysis, I have created a nuanced understanding of the social, economic, and cultural developments that took place during this dynamic period in Australian history.
In examining this complex settlement history, I have employed several different research methodologies in parallel, to create a comprehensive understanding of the area. The research techniques will be valuable to researchers struggling to understand similarly complex sociocultural evolutions throughout the globe.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Publication statusUnpublished - 2012


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