Recognition and multiculturalism: German heritage discourse in the European context
Stefan Groth (University of Zurich)
Paper short abstract:
The paper revisits debates on multiculturalism and asks for their influence on heritage practices and policies in Europe. It analyzes the discourse on heritage in Germany with regard to its connections to debates on European multiculturalism and their representation in policy and public discourse.
Paper long abstract:
Debates on heritage draw from notions of recognition to make sense of competing claims to culture as property, right, and symbolic power. Issues of entitlement, sovereignty, identity, appreciation, responsibility and equality factor in these debates for or against rights and attributions in the sphere of heritage. Both scholarly and public debates on cultural heritage are in-implicit or explicit-reference to a debate cluster on recognition and multiculturalism in Europe starting in the 1990s and reaching into the 2000s. Albeit held under different circumstances, recourse to this cluster appears to continue and strengthen, especially with regard to the interplay between national and European notions of cultural heritage and the role it plays for the relation between nation states and imaginaries of regional identity. My contribution revisits this debate on multiculturalism and asks for its influence on heritage practices and policies in Europe. Taking Germany as an example, it analyzes strains of discourse on cultural heritage with regard to their conceptual connections to debates on European multiculturalism and their representation in policy and public discourse. Focussing on the interplay between national and European notions of culture and integration and on their materialization in policy and discourse, it will shed light on how the configurations of debates on multiculturalism and heritage need to be re-evaluated regarding their compatibility and reach. The aim of my contribution is to strengthen the insights on the interplay between national and regional notions of cultural heritage in Germany and Europe by reconceptualizing the connections between the two debates.
Heritage as a European product