home / congresses / SIEF2013

SIEF2013 11th Congress: Tartu, Estonia.
30 June - 4 July, 2013

SIEF2013: Circulation

Tartu, Estonia; 30th June - 4th July


Theorizing heritage fractures, divides and gaps

Location Ülikooli 16, 214
Date and Start Time 01 July, 2013 at 10:30


Ewa Klekot (University of Warsaw) email
Cristina Sanchez-Carretero (CSIC) email
Mail All Convenors

Short Abstract

We invite contributions to analyze and theorize the fractures, divides and gaps linked to both research on heritagization and to the practice and/or management of heritage-related processes. The goal is to move beyond the criticism of these gaps and to conduct research on the divides themselves.

Long Abstract

This panel seeks contributions to analyze and theorize the fractures, divides and gaps that are linked to both research on heritagization and to the practice and/or management of heritage-related processes. Some of these fractures are related to the parallel realities in which researchers on heritage and managers of heritage -and policy makers- are immersed. A second type of divide is linked to the distance between those who understand heritage as socially constructed and those who continue having the perspective that heritage are things, a position named "substantialism" by Davallon (2010). Although a critical turn in heritage studies has been proposed for more than two decades (Kirshenblatt-Gimblett 1995, Hufford 1994, Prats 2005, Smith 2006), substantialists continue to have a dominant role in the authorized heritage discourse (Smith 2006). Another divide is related to the distance between heritage policies and local participation in heritagization processes. There is also an ethical divide resulting from the emancipatory potential of heritage, which is manifested in memory activism, and its commodification. In this panel, we seek contributions that move beyond the criticism of these gaps and conduct research on the divides themselves. The session invites provocative and challenging contributions from critical heritage studies to pursue theoretical directions on the fractures of heritagization processes. We are particularly interested in bringing together crossdisciplinary points of view from historians, anthropologists, folklorists, ethnologist, architects, archaeologists, museologists or ethnomusicologists; as well as "practitioners" of heritage-related fields, such as NGOs, community centers, policy-making institutions or museums.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.


From voicing fractures to theorizing heritage conflicts: the case of the Atlantic islands of Galicia National Park

Author: Cristina Sanchez-Carretero (CSIC)  email

Short Abstract

This paper focuses on the conflicts among tourists and local population in the Atlantic Islands of Galicia National Park (Spain), to explore some of the fractures regarding heritagization processes and the instrumentalization of the so-called “community participation” in heritage policies.

Long Abstract

Some of the fractures regarding heritagization processes are related to the instrumentalization of heritage authorized discourse as well as the instrumentalization of the so-called "community participation" in heritage policies. These fractures will be explored using examples from a research project that focuses on the conflicts among tourists and local population in the Atlantic Islands of Galicia National Park (Spain). Particularly, I will concentrate on the conflicts related to the management of the island of Ons as a heritage site. In Ons, different people live in the island: four families live all around the year, together with tourists and summer seasonal inhabitants such as those who have been inhabiting houses in the island for many decades, and are fighting for property rights. This paper discusses the concept of "community" employed by managers of the site and policy makers when dealing with construction permits for the "local community" of the island.

How to bridge these gaps? Experts and their self-concept

Author: Jurij Fikfak (Scientific Research Center )  email

Short Abstract

Ethnologists as protectors of heritage are dealing with gaps or structured conflicts, like playing different roles as representatives of national authority and as independent heritage experts; conceiving of cultural heritage as an identification, emancipatory process versus its commodification.

Long Abstract

Triglav National Park is a laboratory of different cultural practices and is one of the main areas where almost all structured conflicts are condensed and detectable at quite a few levels. The first and basic issue is "twin legislation"—the legal split between protection of nature and culture. This gap is exacerbated through different sources of finances and through different experts. The other basis for structured conflict is the gap where ethnologists or folklore specialists are the official protectors of culture and have to choose among various options. This involves the issue of dual loyalty. Who should they be responsible to? On the one hand, they are answerable to the state. As its representatives, they must protect the vision that is planned and designed through various cultural protection strategies and inscribed in the law. They must use the power delegated by the state, and therefore they sometimes ignore the needs of the local people. On the other hand, as primary, independent experts in heritage and experts in dealing with people, they need to maintain good dialogue with the people living in the park and must respect them, their image of the world, wishes…

Through interviews with various experts in Slovenian protected areas, this study defines the theoretical basis and frameworks used by ethnologists in the field, their self-concept, concrete practices, and strategies to bridge these gaps. It discusses how suture (in Lacan's sense) is made, e.g. by using cognitive dissonance, resignation, and other strategies.


Author: Lee Haring (Brooklyn College)  email

Short Abstract

Conflicting conceptions of value perpetuate a fracture between rival claimants. A case study demonstrates the divide between management of heritage-related processes by UNESCO and the lively activities of local tradition-bearers.

Long Abstract

"The ancient world has become irrevocably detached from our own," wrote Jean Seznec before the outbreak of the second World War. Most worlds, most interpretive or textual communities, are now irrevocably detached from one another, if not internally fractured; hence the challenges of heritage-making (heritagization). A proposal for UNESCO recognition of a musical form practiced in the islands of the Southwest Indian Ocean demonstrates the fracture between management of heritage-related processes by official cultural authorities and the lively activities of ongoing performance by unofficial tradition-bearers. To theorize such fractures, one set of coordinates aiding comprehension is translation theory, which explores issues like the fidelity of a certain translation and the ethics of mediation between cultures. A second set is the well-established notion of ethnographic fiction, the synthesis of narrative techniques with field observation, problematic for anthropologists. A third set of coordinates is the conflict of theories around creolization (the renegotiation of culture under sociopolitical pressure), and its opposite, cosmopolitanism (the capacity to live easily among or above multiplicities). Today, at the same time that an international community of heritage makers is being born, local and national ownership of traditions is being claimed. If theorizing such fractures does not resolve contradictions, it at least does not repress them in the interest of a contrived mediation.

Heritage: just the "new culture"? How the everyday usage of culture is challenging ethnography and cultural analysis

Author: Bernhard Tschofen (University of Zurich)  email

Short Abstract

Based on the premise that, today, doing culture has to be understood as both acting in culture and acting with culture, this paper discusses new perspectives on the complex field of cultural heritage. It points out a conscious usage of culture in dealing with change and conflicts in everyday life.

Long Abstract

The attraction as well as crux of European Ethnology is based on the fact that this discipline deals with a common good. Its key category, "culture", is both an analytical tool of academic research and a means of self-portrayal and also portrayal by others in everyday life. However, from early on, our discipline had to learn that this fact cannot not be understood as a mere dichotomy: What appears like an antagonism of an objective and a subjective mode of culture, like divided types of culture, is in fact strongly interrelated. The circular forms of reference prove that such dichotomies are no longer sustainable. This is one of the reasons for a diminished confidence in the analytical potential of "culture". It is often easier to describe and deconstruct cultural heritage with existing concepts from our discipline than to acknowledge it as a new elaborate mode of culture, as it is indicated in this paper. As an empirical discipline which focuses on everyday life, the popular, and its many ways of envisioning the world, we cannot avoid a concept of culture despite of the described situation. The paper will discuss how people transform their cultural knowledge into useable heritage in the everyday in general and in dealing with the experience of change and fracturing differences in particular.

Divided territories: heritage economy in court decisions

Author: Anita Vaivade (Latvian Academy of Culture)  email

Short Abstract

The paper envisages examining decisions over the meaning and use of territory; questioning the existing gaps within axiological references of court decisions. Contradicting heritage and economy arguments invites to consider other possible paths legal argumentation might take.

Long Abstract

Quest for economic development time and again is taking spatial expressions. It is a permanent process of perception and valuation of space that further manifests in visions and plans, arguments and decisions over the space inhabited, used and also left untouched. Among other forms it takes, a genre of its expression is land use plan, reflecting values and understanding of the potential and meaning of a territory. All these aspects contribute to the semantics of a particular space that can be based on a certain consensus, but it can also raise a set of differences and contradictions in arguments and positions.

The paper envisages examining a particular case of deciding over a meaning of a territory, and over its values and potential, within the perspective of the quest for development. The case has been brought to the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Latvia, and deals with an issue of the land use in a particular territory Kundziņsala in Riga that traditionally has been inhabited by a fishermen community, and recently proposed as a potentially valuable territory for industrial prosperity and economical profits, contradicting the value and meaning the territory has for the community.

This leads to questioning the existing gaps within axiological references of court decisions; with a perspective on the possible paths that legal argumentation might take, considering cultural values of heritage as being interconnected to the potential of developing economy.

Andalusian patios: opportunities and constraints of intangible heritage

Author: Victoria Quintero (Universidad Pablo Olavide)  email

Short Abstract

Through the analysis of two cases of patrimonial activation of the "Andalusian patios", we want to show how the new heritage typologies, as intangible heritage, are particularly suited to illustrate the fractures and contradictions related to heritagization.

Long Abstract

It is known that heritagisation processes illustrate a political arena. The attributed meanings provide legitimacy of use to one or the other collectives, in this sense, we can asset that heritage is an area of conflict and negotiation. We are going to analyze two ethnographic cases of "neighbours houses", better known as "Andalusian patios". These collective housing are organized around the courtyard and were designed for the working classes dwellings. "The Fiesta of the Patios in Cordova" (recently includes in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity) and "Seville Patios", both of them are processes characterized by the prominence of a group of citizens in the claim and defense of these heritages. From our point of view, the new heritage typologies, as intangible heritage, are particularly suited to illustrate the fractures and contradictions related to heritagization. We can examine fractures associated with disputes between experts, or the difficulties to manage social participation, also those gaps related to interactions between expert discourses and the narratives of different social actors. Linked to these conflicts we will try to advance in the following aspects: a) the intangible dimension and the protocols of the institutions of the heritage and the unchanging concept of conservation/safeguarding; b) the sacredness and transcendence associated with heritage and how constructivist expert discourse interact with social actors narratives; c) how heritage institutions normally consider citizen as an homogeneus whole (and sometimes reducing them to a "community").

The tree, the garden, the heritage - how the restoration of a historical garden reveals the divide between policies and grass roots participation

Author: Anna Kalina-Gagnelid  email

Short Abstract

Matters of heritage are constantly changed in the field of social discussion. The situation becomes especially expressive when the domains of "historical-", "natural-" and "individually perceived-"heritage clash. What more, the character of discussion becomes very dynamic because of social media.

Long Abstract

This particular case shows how matters of heritage are constantly changed through a social discussion. The situation becomes especially expressive when the domains of "historical heritage", "natural heritage" and "individually perceived heritage" clash. One of the historical gardens in Warsaw is going through a process of restoration in the sense of "restoring its original state". Practically it means dramatic changes in all dimensions: including efforts to reconstruct its shape according to XIX century plans, making new features, massive clearings of old trees and most important: changes in peoples minds. The whole situation has evoked stormy debate.

What more, now the character of such discussions has become very dynamic because of use of social media. The dispute left virtual reality and turned to public protests in the park. This example of a restoration of a public space shows different status of "historical heritage" and "natural heritage". Both socially constructed, but representing non equal values. And another phenomenon: "individually perceived heritage" becomes widely recognizable, shared and defended due to fast communication processes. It reinforces the differentiation of instances able to confirm what can be claimed as a heritage.

This is also an occasion to focus on the still unclear status of trees versus "historical heritage" versus monuments. In this case, inspired and financed by the city, changes are leading to revelation of people's strong attachment to the previous state of the park. They openly claim this space as theirs and recognize the trees as more valuable than a historical version of this park.

Warsaw audioguides and heritagization

Author: Anna Czyzewska (Ethnographic Laboratory Association)  email

Short Abstract

As an autohor of Warsaw audiogudies, I use heritage, to create a story – base of audiogudies. Through my presentation I would like to discuss how our audioguides are involved in a process of heritagization.

Long Abstract

For the last 5 years I have been a member of the Ethnographic Laboratory For the last 5 years I have been a member of the Ethnographic Laboratory Association, Polish NGO, which focuses on the popularization of the cultural anhtropology and ethnography. One of our project "Warsaw audioguides" (www.warsawaudioguides.com) I would like to discuss during the presentation. We have made 10 audioguides in two language version: polish and english, which guide by the various parts of the Warsaw in the form of walks. They are avaible for free. Since January 2012 more than 10 000 users have downloaded them.

We are the authors, editors, producers and sometimes even lectors. As a cultural anthropologist we want to show not only the history of the city, but especially history of the peopole who used to live in Warsaw. Using the ethnographic field researches we address all the variety of perspectives. For us- autors of the guides a big challange is to use the filed researches, and then put them in the city space and context. In our work we refer to the local heritage. For users, sound walks are an excuse to explore the city in a very private way.

Through my presentation I would like to discuss the relationship between our audioguides and heritagization.

"Phantom nostalgia" in Israeli heritage museums

Author: Tamar Katriel (University of Haifa)  email

Short Abstract

The museums discussed combine affirmation and rejection of the Jewish past, belonging and alienation, ethnic distinctiveness and national inclusion. They cultivate “phantom nostalgia” through the "presence of absence" even while disregarding tangible traces of a local past.

Long Abstract

Using case studies of two vernacular museums designed to commemorate the heritage of Central European Jews in Israel - the Museum of German-speaking Jewry in Tefen and the Museum of Hungarian-speaking Jewry in Safed - I address the ways in which gaps and fissures are thematized, marginalized or brushed over in these museological contexts.

Both museums reconstruct the particular trajectories of the culture and history of the Jews in cultural areas demarcated by language-use as well as the story of their immigration to Palestine/Israel and their often painful incorporation into Israeli society. Both, too, walk a thin line between affirmation and rejection of the Jewish Diaspora past, a sense of belonging and alienation vis-à-vis mainstream Israeli society on the one hand and European culture on the other.

Established through the efforts of Holocaust survivors backed by immigrant associations, these two museums serve both commemorative and pedagogical functions as they negotiate their claims to cultural distinctiveness. They pay tribute to the Jewish communal past and shared sense of loss yet go beyond Jewish victimhood through affirmative and forward-looking displays of energizing past accomplishments. They thus inculcate members of younger generations with a sense of "phantom nostalgia" - a "presence of absence", a reaching out to places and times they never knew. Ironically, this family-anchored "phantom nostalgia" coincides with a cultivated disregard for the divisions and fractures underlying the museums' enterprise and their political implications.

Ensemencer présences: l'expérience du laboratoire des mémoires collectives dans les musées portugaises

Author: Lorena Querol (Centro de Estudos Sociais, Universidade de Coimbra)  email

Short Abstract

Sous l'inspiration de la Muséologie Social et avaient considéré le musée comme un organe de construction des sens sociaux et de reconnaissance des valeurs et savoirs collectives, on présent les principes, méthodes et résultats d'un laboratoire itinérant des mémoires locaux au Portugal.

Long Abstract

Dans le milieu de la Muséologie Social, et à travers une actuation centré dans l'exercice d'une participation culturel transversale, on a crée, depuis le Centro de Estudos Sociais de l'Université de Coimbra, un laboratoire des mémoires locaux au fin de développer des procès d'évaluation, de résignification et de dynamisation social de la mémoire à l'échelle la plus simple et humaine.

Ce laboratoire constitue le résultat d'un procès d'hybridation conceptuelle et méthodologique où sont rencontrées les dynamiques de sauvegarde liés au concept du Patrimoine Immatériel avec les principes de l'intersubjectivité, avec les piliers de l'Ecologie des Savoirs ou avec les lignes d'action défendus par la Théorie de la Reconnaissance, pour obtenir un double objectif : la contribution au procès de construction d'une justice social global et à la protection de notre diversité socioculturel depuis le musée.

Dans ce laboratoire on éprouve des mécanismes alternatifs de patrimonialisation à caractère collectif, qui débouchent sur la définition d'une grammaire d'intersubjectivités et sur un procès d'affirmation des nuances sociaux identitaires.

Est-ce que l'émancipation et la mémoire pourraient faire partie d'une Muséologie engagée avec la reconnaissance de la diversité?

Download PDF of paper

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.