( pn33 )

Making and remaking heritage in global context


    Erik De Maaker


    Leiden University

    Face to Face/ On Site - Presence

    Rebecca Sauer


    University of Zuric

    Face to Face/ On Site - Presence

IUAES Affiliation: Museums and Cultural Heritage


heritage, multiperspectivity, subalternity, global challenges, mobility


The societal relevance of heritage, in any context, depends on the degree to which it has a bearing on current societal issues. Heritage, tangible and intangible, derives from the past, but is remembered, kept and perhaps curated because it has a relevance in the present. In any given societal context there is an equation between what is acknowledged as heritage, and pressing global challenges of the time. These may currently include issues as diverse as climate change, (the threat of) war, or the kind of insecurities created by the growing dominance of capitalist markets. This panel focuses on the diverse ways in which heritage comes into being, or loses its relevance, and how that can provide insights into the kind of challenges which people in given societal contexts face. Definitions of heritage have been subject to extensive institutionalised discussions from the mid-20th century onwards, resulting in the concept being amended and reframed, to fit changing understandings of representation, locality, authority, and resistance. Taking multiperspectivity seriously, we want to contribute to discussions that go beyond the set categories promoted by international organisations as UNESCO, such as tangible and intangible heritage. In addition, the well known juxtaposition of an ‘Authorised Heritage Discourse’, and a subaltern ‘Heritage from Below’, suggests that people generate heritage in dedicated societal locations, with the intention to shape societal discourse. But what about traditions, skills, objects, and (local) stories which people value because they derive from the past, but that they or others do not objectify as heritage and that therefore remain ‘in the shadow’, to be understood more or less exclusively in terms of for example custom, religion, or musical style? We are particularly interested in the ways in which research interlocutors experience how what earlier has not been considered heritage acquires that status, or how what at one time was considered heritage lost that appeal. How does that take shape in regional, national and global contexts, and involve stakeholders in what processes of heritage making and unmaking? We invite presentations from scholars who, in their research, engage with questions outlined above, what heritage making or unmaking accomplishes or how it can fail. This panel is an initiative of a committee on cultural heritage of the cooperative university network Una Europa. This network encompasses eleven leading European research universities, which are particularly strong in the fields of Social Sciences and Humanities. The aim of the panel is to highlight and discuss new, hitherto ignored approaches to heritage. We invite contributions based on original ethnographic research, with a strong theoretical focus. Scholars who are interested in contributing to this panel are invited to submit an abstract of about 300 words. The language of interaction for this panel is English.