XXIV ESRS Congress 22‐25 August 2011, Chania, Greece
9. Cultural heritage in the light of rural restructuring
Karoline Daugstad and Christoph Kirchengast, Department of Geography, Norwegian University of Science and Technology and Centre for Rural Research, Norway, firstname.lastname@example.org, Department of Sociology, University of Innsbruck, Austria, email@example.com
Rural restructuring is a substantially researched field within the context of the ESRS addressing economic, social and environmental dimensions. The focus of this working group is first and foremost the cultural dimension in the context of rural restructuring, more specifically cultural heritage. Cultural heritage is in this context understood in a broad sense including material structures like buildings and other built structures and intangible heritage like traditions, customs, practices and knowledge. Cultural heritage further embrace ‘canonised’ appointed heritage as in world heritage or protected sites and monuments, as well as the more vernacular heritage like cultural elements surrounding all of us in some sense and of different meaning to different people. Objects, sites or practices don’t exist as heritage on their own. Their existence as heritage is always the product of social or discursive construction. Thus heritage is fluid. It can be contested, dissonant or represent and create inequality – both on global and local scales.
Cultural heritage in this wide sense is a part of rural restructuring – it interrelates with structural changes, it can be accentuated as an asset for value adding. Different processes revolving around cultural heritage can come in conflict, for example: The realisation of the economic potential of cultural heritage can be detrimental to protection, or, on the other hand, represent a financial opportunity for restoration of the same heritage as well as contribute to the local politics of identity and belonging. Local initiatives to highlight heritage as part of place making or branding can increase the attraction of a place and boost economic development. On the other hand, a few powerful local stakeholders can control such initiatives and may exclude alternative visions of future development.
A number of factors are interwoven and can be in conflict or harmony. Under the main topic of cultural heritage in a rural setting, papers are welcome addressing the following topics:
- Designated heritage – whose heritage? Issues of representation and appropriation
- Dissonant or contested heritage
- Managing heritage: Participatory aspects
- Managing heritage: a balancing act between diversity and inequality?
- The economic potential in cultural heritage – promises and pitfalls
- Defining cultural heritage: Issues of power and ideology