Heritage has always been an important element in the symbolic repertoire of European integration. Today, it is also becoming a European product. This panel looks at how heritage policies are increasingly standardized across Europe, both within and beyond the European Union.
Heritage has always been an important element in the symbolic repertoire of European integration. Today, a number of EU-funded programmes for heritage management as well as networks of knowledge transfer, some of them also under the auspices of other transnational organisations such as UNESCO and the Council of Europe, have contributed to the emergence of a Europe-wide 'patrimonial field' (M. Tauschek). This panel will explore how "heritage regimes" - understood as a range of material-semiotic practices -provide important inroads for the Europeanization of social life, institutions, and individual agency. These processes can be observed particularly well in countries that recently joined the European Union or are aspiring to membership. The streamlining of individual country's policies with European templates does not even primarily happen through the implementation of legal regulations and state-implemented controls, but often rather informally, by introducing standards, funding pilot projects and presenting so-called best practice models to be emulated and reproduced locally. Case studies from European countries as well as comparative perspectives are invited. Research on the implementation of Europeanized heritage policies in states that acceded to the EU in or after 2004 or have been awarded the status of accession candidates are particularly welcome. Proceeding from the assumption that while increasingly similar heritage management practices and discourses can be observed throughout Europe, the meaning of 'heritage' clearly differs from country to country, and therefore the local effects of the policies can be expected to be quite diverse.