Interrogating the ‘universal’ in St. Lucia’s Pitons Management Area
St. Lucia’s Pitons have long been contested space, stirring up debates over issues of national sovereignty; cultural, historic, and natural heritage; and development strategies. In the 1990s, conflict over the national significance of and rights to the Pitons generated protests centering on the development of the Jalousie Plantation Resort, which is situated between the Pitons. Since the inscription of the Pitons Management Area (PMA) as a World Heritage Site in 2004, these debates have reemerged with renewed vigor in response to intensified development of exclusive resorts in the Soufriere region (where the PMA is located) and throughout St. Lucia. Such responses commonly emerge in World Heritage contexts, which are ‘most often a product of a much longer, socially and historically situated process of contested mediation’ (Di Giovine 2009: 37). The PMA, like many other World Heritage Sites, constitutes a ‘zone of contestation’ (Appadurai and Breckenridge 1991: 407) in which debates animated by local and global actors over history, culture, and economic development flourish.