chapter  4
13 Pages

Representing identities at local municipal museums: Cultural forums or identity bunkers?


Heritage has played a decisive role in the definition and assertion of cultural identities, becoming increasingly prominent in the field of cultural policies. In post-industrial and postmodern societies, heritage is frequently described as a cultural legacy which is both ‘good and necessary’, something that should be cherished and preserved, celebrated and promoted for its ability to represent a wide range of social and cultural identities. This growing appreciation of cultural manifestations and collective legacies is an identifiable global trend and has resulted in the rise of heritage processes where cultural visibility is enacted through various practices, politics and displays. There are several reasons that account for this situation: postcolonialism, globalization, migration, cultural diversity, and transnational and local identity movements are just some examples of the significant changes observed in contemporary societies that contribute to the dramatic increase of heritage. In a global scenario of rapid movement, fluxes and changes, heritage arises as a particularly effective resource for asserting continuity and stability which enable societies to define and anchor their identity.