chapter
Introduction: Heritage from Below
ByIain J.M. Robertson
Pages 28

Heritage is about more than visitors, audience and consumption. It is about more than access to economic resources. It is about people, collectivity and individuals, and about their sense of inheritance from the past and the uses to which this sense of inheritance is put. It is about the possibilities that result from that deployment of the past. The idea of heritage from below rests on these and on the realisation that, whilst the economic realm cannot be wholly separated from heritage, there exist uses of the past in the present that are only minimally related to the economic and that such uses can function as cultural resources for counter hegemonic expressions. The origins of this volume lie in the realisation that these factors and processes have not always been captured by, and have only ever been partially discussed in the academic literature, seduced, more often than not, by the nationalist, top-down, commercial and tourism-focussed perspectives of the mainstream manifestations of heritage that together constitute a hegemonic discourse. This collection explicitly aims to move beyond and reject this discourse.