chapter  3
50 Pages

The Aesthetics of Protection of Ancient Architectural Heritage

The standards to be applied to the protection of classical architectural heritage are a matter of considerable controversy today, in part because of the diverse pressures of international opinion, but also because of the tensions within Greek society and among Greek experts and decision-makers over appropriate conservation practices. Aesthetic judgments over whether or not and how to undertake protection are very important. Even though pressure groups of lay people may have an effect on what is preservable, they still cannot formulate valid arguments on how the protection should be undertaken. There will be no full historical account of aesthetics in this chapter, but a concern with its ideological character, its internal contradictions and its bearing on the strongly artistic aspect of architectural intervention on ruins. The analysis of the ideological nature of the aesthetic, based on a discussion of Bourdieu and Eagleton, goes beyond the simple acknowledgement articulated in the first chapter, that it operates as a contradictory instrument of subordination, namely as a mechanism for turning the quest for beauty and harmony into bonds with external power and social hierarchy.