HERITAGE AS A CULTURAL PROCESS
DOI link for HERITAGE AS A CULTURAL PROCESS
HERITAGE AS A CULTURAL PROCESS book
The aim of this chapter is to explore new ways of understanding the nature of ‘heritage’ and the ‘work’ that this concept does. The last chapter identiﬁed the dominant discourse of heritage, and argued that this discourse constitutes the idea of heritage in such a way as to exclude certain social actors and interests from actively engaging with heritage. Not only does this discourse frame heritage audiences as passive receptors of the authorized meaning of heritage, it also creates signiﬁcant barriers for active public negotiation about the meaning and nature of heritage, and the social and cultural roles that it may play. Consequently, most attempts at public or community inclusion into heritage programmes are inevitably expressed in assimilatory terms, in that excluded community groups become ‘invited’ to ‘learn’, ‘share’ or become ‘educated’ about authorized heritage values and meanings. Although there has been signiﬁcant criticism about the nature of heritage, centred on the critique of economic commodiﬁcation, this criticism shares all too much conceptual space with the authorized discourse. Although this critique does signiﬁcantly contribute to the account of what the AHD does, it does not tell the whole story (Urry 1990: 112; Samuel 1994). Subsequently, we are left at a theoretical impasse – how might a sense of heritage be constructed that is both more inclusive of alternate discourses, and provides a framework for analysing the use of heritage beyond that already identiﬁed within the heritage industry critique?