chapter  4
22 Pages

PRESERVATION, PROFANATION AND IMAGE-MANAGEMENT

In the previous chapter, we saw how a site of difficult heritage could be left largely intact not on account of any idea that it should be preserved for posterity but for a range of other reasons, including, in the Nuremberg case, the location of its ‘power’ in a surface symbol, the swastika; and the idea that the financial ‘investment’ in its physical fabric should be put to practical use. Increasingly, however, sites of difficult history, like many other kinds of places that are perceived to be carriers of history, are being actively preserved through legislation and conservationist practices. That is, they are being turned into ‘official’ heritage – a status that has implications for how they can be treated and also for their reception. This can set up particular problems for difficult heritage, which may deal with a past that many might prefer to forget or dissociate from ongoing self-identity. It also risks giving a special allure – a ‘heritage effect’ – to such spaces and histories.