THE DISCOURSE OF HERITAGE
DOI link for THE DISCOURSE OF HERITAGE
THE DISCOURSE OF HERITAGE book
There is, really, no such thing as heritage. I say this advisedly, and it is a statement that I will qualify, but it needs to be said to highlight the common sense assumption that ‘heritage’ can unproblematically be identiﬁed as ‘old’, grand, monumental and aesthetically pleasing sites, buildings, places and artefacts. What I argue in this book is that there is rather a hegemonic discourse about heritage, which acts to constitute the way we think, talk and write about heritage. The ‘heritage’ discourse therefore naturalizes the practice of rounding up the usual suspects to conserve and ‘pass on’ to future generations, and in so doing promotes a certain set of Western elite cultural values as being universally applicable. Consequently, this discourse validates a set of practices and performances, which populates both popular and expert constructions of ‘heritage’ and undermines alternative and subaltern ideas about ‘heritage’. At the same time, the ‘work’ that ‘heritage’ ‘does’ as a social and cultural practice is obscured, as a result of the naturalizing effects of what I call the ‘authorized heritage discourse’.