The Politics of Heritage: Spaces, Policies and Practices of Cultural Governance in Pluralistic Societies

Open Panel

In today’s globalized the making of heritage is facing new challenges and paradigms. On the one hand, values of creativity combined with the development of new communication technologies emphasize the international mechanisms for recognition and valorization of heritage with an universal projection. On the other hand the complexity of globalization intensified by migration, terrorism, and the crisis accentuate the ongoing social, economic and political paradox of disparities between greater choices and greater access for individuals. Although politics of cultural governance may contribute to building open, inclusive and pluralistic societies based on diversity, tolerance, and the coexistence of different ideas and beliefs, that via may also constitute an affirmation of identity for invisibilized or disrupted communities.

In that context, Heritage Studies have become lately a lively research area, by engaging in a critically approaching to heritage policies and practices as a complex power relations always subject to changes, negotiations and contestations. Heritageization, as a process of negotiation of a visibilization of narratives, voices, memories, affections and emotions involved in heritage-making, displays the politics of a community representation. One central dimension of this negotiation is the spatial one, since the production of heritageized spaces and sites entails a cultural demarcation and a social identification.

In this panel, our aim is to open a space to share conversations that stimulate a reading of heritageization as an inherently political and spatial discourse.
We are interested in approaching the regimes of cultural governance, meaning the policies and practices of UNESCO, the European Union and other institutions that identify what heritage is. But we also expect contributions that may reflect around the meaning-making engaged in heritage policies and practices in other scales, institutions, communities and cultural facilities. Also, we expect to debate the challenges for national cultural heritage making in pluralistic societies, approaching new forms of nationalism and integration policies may rely on heritage discourses.