Overview Academic Articles

Dear visitor!

Here you can find an overview of the various academic writings on our blog, with direct links. You’re of course also free to just scroll through the articles, which you can find below.

Enjoy!

“La ‘restitution’: le dialogue entre le chercheur et le terrain”, an article review by TEMA student Aline Lara Serafim Penatti, published first 02/12/2014.

Approaches to Education in the Context of the European Crisis, a conference presentation by TEMA Student Jan de Jong, published first 03/12/2014.

Cultural Heritage – A Short Overview, an academic article by dr. Gábor Sonkoly, published first 04/12/2014.

 

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“La ‘restitution’: le dialogue entre le chercheur et le terrain” – Aline Lara Serafim Penatti

Dans cet article, Aline Penatti traite la restitution comme un élément méthodologique important de la recherche ethnographique. Elle commente deux articles sur ce sujet, et par ceci, elle donne un aperçu sur les problèmes qui peuvent être associés à ceux-ci. Cependant, une grande partie de ses questions ne sont pas limitées à l’ethnographie, et cet article peut donc être utile pour les chercheurs qui viennent des autres disciplines également.


Le travail ethnographique est une méthode utilisée dans les Sciences Sociales pour la compréhension in situ de l’objet d’étude. Sur le terrain, en relation directe avec le sujet de recherche, le chercheur a besoin de respecter certains codes d’éthique. Par ailleurs, après l’observation et l’analyse, le retour au terrain faire voir les enjeux politiques et la possibilité de nouvelles constructions de l’altérité.

 La « restitution » : le dialogue entre le chercheur et le terrain. Commentaires de deux articles, l’un de Laurent Vidal et l’autre de Carolina Kobelinsky

Aline Lara Serafim Penatti

 Le travail de terrain n’est pas encore fini au moment où les entretiens et les observations ont été recueillis et analysés. C’est pour cela que nous proposons une brève réflexion sur les défis et obligations du chercheur sur le sujet de la « restitution » du travail ethnographique aux interlocuteurs du terrain,1 selon deux articles suggérés par le chercheur du CNRS Riccardo Ciavolella lors d’un séminaire à l’EHESS. D’abord, l’article de Laurent Vidal, « Rendre compte. La restitution comme lieu de refondation des sciences sociales en contexte de développement »2, publié en 2011 dans les Cahiers d’études africaines. Puis, celui de Carolina Kobelinsky : « 9 : Les situations de retour. »3, publié en 2008 dans l’ouvrage dirigé par Alban Bensa et Didier Fassin, Les politiques de l’enquête.

Pour Laurent Vidal, anthropologue et directeur du « Département Sociétés » de l’Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), rendre compte des résultats de la recherche à ceux qui ont servi comme objet d’observation, et qui ont donc accueilli le travail du chercheur, est une activité spécifique qui demande une adaptation du contenu et de la forme des résultats de la recherche au moment de cette divulgation. Ainsi, il y a d’abord le besoin d’affirmer la non-volonté de juger les personnes concernées, puis l’importance de la confidentialité de certaines informations et, enfin, l’alternance de présentation entre données concrètes et pistes d’analyse.

De plus, ce moment de la restitution implique, selon lui, trois nouveaux aspects pour le développement du travail de l’anthropologue. Le premier aspect, selon Vidal, est la restitution comme terrain de recherche en soi-même car c’est un moment où le débat est ouvert et les personnes étudiées donnent leur avis sur elles-mêmes et leur travail. Comme l’affirme Vidal : « l’anthropologue : venu pour transmettre une analyse, il se trouve dans la situation de pouvoir l’enrichir […] Le temps de la restitution s’est avéré être un lieu d’observation, en somme un ‘terrain’ pour l’anthropologue. »4

Le deuxième aspect porte sur la « restitution comme retour à la pratique », c’est-à-dire que d’autres informations y sont trouvées, de la même manière que d’autres éléments incitent à la poursuite de la recherche et à une révision des résultats obtenus. De nouvelles images émergent lorsque les interlocuteurs donnent leur avis sur leurs pratiques et suggèrent des changements, par exemple concernant les patients et la population où est géré le soin en Afrique.

« La restitution comme pensée de l’action anthropologique » est le troisième aspect qui relie le chercheur à la dimension politique de son objet de recherche, aussi bien qu’il favorise la réflexion sur l’action du travail anthropologique. Puisque l’anthropologue connaît les enjeux du terrain et les évoque au moment de la restitution, il devient, selon Vidal, à la fois spectateur et acteur. Spectateur lorsqu’il fait les annonces et observe les réactions, mais aussi acteur car, d’un côté, les interlocuteurs le considèrent comme quelqu’un qui a un rôle politique pouvant intervenir dans la situation évoquée ; et, de l’autre, la connaissance de l’environnement social peut en effet être utilisée politiquement.

Par ailleurs, la compréhension de l’environnement social peut être mise en question au moment de la restitution et, par conséquence, le choix méthodologique également. Selon l’exemple fourni par Vidal, les médecins ont suggéré une mise en perspective sociologique lorsqu’ils affirmaient que les caractéristiques évoquées du système de santé concernaient en fait l’ensemble de la société. De plus, ils ont aussi suggéré une révision de la nature du programme de santé dans son ensemble à partir de la réflexion sur la notion de verticalité qui a été travaillée sous un seul aspect par les chercheurs5. Cette situation correspond également au processus de construction de l’altérité car, dans un premier temps, l’autre (les interlocuteurs du terrain) écoute le chercheur et donne ensuite son avis, puis, dans un second temps, celui-ci repense sa propre démarche de recherche et sa perspective sur l’altérité de son terrain.

L’article de l’anthropologue Carolina Kobelinsky évoque le cas de la restitution de sa recherche dans les centres d’accueil de demandeurs d’asile (CADA). L’article complète celui de Vidal dans la mesure où, à part des affirmations en commun sur l’importance du dialogue avec ceux qui ont fait partie de l’observation, Kobelinsky expose les contentieux à travers l’analyse de trois épisodes de restitution.

De cette façon, son article explore le fait que l’anthropologue doit prévoir l’impact de son travail à partir du moment où les interlocuteurs peuvent participer à la recherche de façon « ouverte » : « Les enquêté-e-s ne peuvent plus être pensés comme une ‘audience silencieuse’…»”6. Selon Kobelinsky, la réaction des interlocuteurs éclaire le regard du chercheur, mais en même temps les observations présentées peuvent changer le comportement de ceux qui font partie du terrain, dans leurs activités quotidiennes ou, au moins, face au chercheur.

Kobelinsky a été sollicitée par ses interlocuteurs pour présenter son travail  ethnographique à trois moments différents. Dans la première situation, un petit groupe de fonctionnaires a exprimé leur mécontentement, principalement en relation avec le langage des analyses, après avoir pris connaissance de son texte. Mais ils ont trouvé que les données pouvaient être utilisées en leur faveur contre les responsables du centre. Il s’agit ainsi d’un exemple d’instrumentalisation du travail ethnographique, une situation que la chercheuse a refusé. La deuxième a lieu dans le même centre ethnographié, mais avec un groupe plus important, lequel manifestait des réticences à se reconnaître dans la description qui était faite de lui.

Le troisième moment de restitution concerne un public plus large, différent de ceux avec lesquel elle avait travaillé, en réunissant des fonctionnaires de plusieurs centres pour un moment de réflexions sur l’activité du CADA. Au milieu des critiques de certains qui monopolisaient le « social » en disant que l’anthropologue ne connaissait pas vraiment la réalité et ne faisait rien d’utile, ni d’actif, elle a reçu un commentaire « positif ». Un responsable de centre lui a dit qu’elle était quelqu’un qui pourrait dissiper l’ignorance des fonctionnaires et, même si ceux-ci ne l’acceptaient pas à ce moment, que sa parole pourrait leur servir dans le futur.

En résumé, il nous semble que la pratique de restitution au terrain permet la mise en œuvre de l’ethnographie. Selon Kobelinsky, cette pratique a reformulé et différencié le travail de l’anthropologue contemporain par rapport à celui fait 30 ans auparavant, où le dialogue n’était pas admis entre le chercheur et les intégrants du terrain. Cependant, à travers les analyses faites par Vidal et Kobelinsky, le dialogue avec les interlocuteurs du terrain, suscité par la restitution, correspond à une action politique, aussi bien qu’à une étape essentielle pour enrichir la recherche. C’est une posture également souhaitée par le code d’éthique australien et nord-américain.

Néanmoins, la restitution peut également créer des situations de difficultés pour le chercheur. D’abord, sa propre recherche peut être mise en risque, car les constats peuvent contrarier l’image que les gens du terrain ont d’eux-mêmes. Ensuite, la divulgation des résultats peut altérer le comportement de ceux-ci et résulter en nouvelles difficultés pour la recherche. Enfin, le constat de l’ethnographe peut être instrumentalisé et transformer le travail scientifique en outil politique.

De cette façon, l’action anthropologique et, par conséquence, les usages du travail scientifique sont à mettre en question dans cette situation où le chercheur devient aussi, au moins dans la perception des interlocuteurs du terrain, un participant aux enjeux politiques du monde social concerné. Le chercheur est ainsi porteur d’un regard spécialisé avec une méthodologie propre, mais il n’est plus complètement extérieur à ce qui se passe sur son terrain de recherche. Son travail consiste à intégrer les enjeux politiques, aussi bien que sa recherche à se développer avec une interférence plus consciente et directe des interlocuteurs à partir de la restitution.

1 Les auteurs des deux articles mentionnent l’inadéquation du terme « restitution » dans ce travail d’anthropologue dans la mesure où il fait référence plutôt à des choses volées ou à la restitution à une condition antérieure. Ainsi, selon les auteurs, le mot le plus adéquat serait « retour » ou « réception », mais nous conserverons le mot restitution l’ utiliser d’une manière standardisée et éviter des confusions.

2 Vidal Laurent, « Rendre compte. La restitution comme lieu de refondation des sciences sociales en contexte de développement », Cahiers d’études africaines, 2011/2 N° 202-203, p. 591-607.

3 Kobelinsky Carolina, « 9 : Les situations de retour. Restituer sa recherche à ses enquêtés », in Alban Bensa et Didier Fassin, Les Politiques de l’enquête La Découverte« Recherches », 2008 p. 185-204.

4 Vidal, Cahiers d’études…, op. cit.,p. 596.

5 La définition de la verticalité est proposée par l’auteur comme « ([…] un ensemble d’acteurs et de structures, de la conception à la mise en œuvre des traitements et des préventions), mais sans pour autant — comme nous y invite incidemment ce collègue médecin — réfléchir à la nature de tout programme de santé. » Vidal, Cahiers d’études…, op. cit., p. 604.

6 Kobelinsky, Les Politiques de…, op. cit.,p. 202.

Approaches to Education in the Context of the European Crisis – Jan de Jong

A short article on ‘Approaches to Education in the Context of the European Crisis’, based on a presentation given last June at the INIE Conference “Entrepreneurial Approaches to Education’ in Krakow. The article is an overview of three different possible attitudes to education, giving some key ideas how this can be conceptualized. One of the arguments put forward is based on an interpretation of  Marcel Mauss’ ‘gift-theory’, and arguing that values should be primary goals rather than utilities and that education should be one of those values. We hope you’ll enjoy reading it, and again, comments, responses (both short and long) and remarks are more than welcome!


Approaches to Education in the Context of the European Crisis

Jan de Jong, 9/11/14

(based on presentation at INIE conference, “Entrepreneurial Approaches to Education”, Krakow, June 5, 2014)

     In this short essay, I would like to argue that there are several different approaches one can take to education. This can for example be seen in the attitude towards education within the European Union, in particular with regards to the Eurocrisis, the recent economic crisis in the Eurozone. Three possible approaches towards education in the EU, all three of which can be used as a response to the Eurocrisis, will be outlined.

Education in ‘Europe 2020’

     The first approach is based on the European Commission’s strategy for the years 2010-2020, called ‘Europe 2020’ (all quotes in this paragraph are from the policy document on this). In this strategy, which was to replace the Lisbon strategy of the previous 10 years, 5 EU-wide targets for the year 2020 were outlined in order to ‘successfully exit the crisis’ (preface). Education is one of these targets and in the official policy document education is mentioned quite often. This approach is linked to themes such as employability, entrepreneurship and economy, as it becomes clear in this document that education is a way of facilitating ‘the entry of young people to the labor market’ (p. 3), of ‘promoting entrepreneurship’ (p. 11) and a way to ‘help employability’ (p.13). This entrepreneurial perspective on education is very result-based, focusing on real-term results in unemployment numbers, poverty levels and general well-being. Education is seen as something that in a way serves the economy and economic goals, using education to foster entrepreneurship and thus solve the European crisis. Put in a different way, education is seen as a means to an economic goal.

Education and European Identity

     Whereas the first approach directly targets the economic effects of the crisis, the other two approaches both try and find a remedy for more fundamental problems within the EU. One of these is the lack of a ‘European identity’ and the second approach that I want to mention here focuses on the creation of a European identity, citizenship and community, or even on the idea of a European nationalism. In the contemporary discourse on nationalism, it is generally accepted that nations are not pre-existing entities but rather, to use Benedict Anderson’s famous term, ‘imagined communities’. Jürgen Habermas, in his plea for the creation of a federal European state, argues similarly that ‘national consciousness and social solidarity were only gradually produced’ (Habermas, 1999). He argues that in the creation of a European federal state, or even in the further strengthening of the European Union as it is, it would be essential to put a similar effort into the creation of a European identity. Education could and should play a major role in this. Examples of how this can be done are various and varied. One way would be through exchange programs, such as Erasmus Mundus/Erasmus, that allow for direct communication and hopefully value transmission between people from different countries in the European Union.

     Another way of using education to create a European identity is through ‘creating’ a European history, which can be done through focusing on transnational European histories and stressing the homogeneity of the different European countries through their histories. Despite the fact that when looking at the histories of European countries, the differences will most probably be more striking than the similarities, there are certain events or phenomena that can be seen as European, and that have been experienced in a similar way throughout at least a big part of Europe. This ranges from the system of feudalism in medieval times to the creation of nation-states in the 19th century and from the Revolutions of 1848 to common European experiences in the Napoleonic Wars, the Second World War or even related to the Holocaust. Whereas these events are not necessarily positive and instead often horrendous, they do present us with experiences that were shared throughout large parts of Europe. Focusing on these experiences in education could create a higher awareness of some sort of homogeneous ‘European History’, which could be one way of strengthening the idea of a ‘European Identity’.

Education and Gift-theory: values first

     The third approach focuses on another ‘fundamental’ issue that has been used to criticize the EU ever since its foundation, namely the lack of ‘European solidarity’, something that is linked to but distinct from the issue of identity. The discourse on solidarity has a long history and there are many different ways in which this can be interpreted. In this presentation, I will shortly present an example of this by using the concept of solidarity as given by Marcel Mauss in his gift-theory, which was later further explored by among others Alain Caillé and David Graeber. Although gift-theory has a long and impressive academic history, most famously figuring in the writings of Claude Lévi-Strauss and following from him, Karl Polanyi, the interpretations of Graeber and Caille are in a different direction. Mauss’s article, The Gift’, an anthropological text on  gifting in ‘primitive’ societies, describes the process of gifting in several primitive societies and the obligations that are associated with this – to give, to accept, and the receive. For example, in the ‘potlach’ feast of the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast of Canada and the United States, gifting plays the main role and in ‘The Gift’ the importance of this for gaining/losing prestige, social location and general social relations is discussed. At the same time, Mauss goes beyond mere observations or explanations and comes up with normative conclusions based on his data. The interpretations of Caillé and Graeber are based on this.  Their ideas are related in part to the ‘Mouvement Anti-Utilitariste dans les Sciences Sociales’ (MAUSS) and set forth that Mauss’s article is essentially and primarily anti-relativist and anti-utilitarianist, two related but different philosophical points of view.

– It can be seen as anti-relativist because of its description of the importance of values in the societies that Mauss talks about. Here, he argues, values were goals in and for themselves and had precedence over mere economic benefits or utility. Values such as solidarity, friendship, prestige, or even education, are then seen as not reducible to mere subjective expressions but rather as embodying the essence of human society, something that was lost in ‘modern capitalist societies’. Here, as well as in the second point, it should be noted that Mauss was a lifelong and dedicated socialist, and that for him ‘the gift’ as a means of exchange in society and as a general metaphor for human relations made a midway possible between the then emerging communist system in Russia on the one hand and Western capitalism on the other hand.

– The text is anti-utilitarianist in the sense that it argues that human behavior cannot, contrary to Jeremy Bentham’s famous theory, be reduced to a need to decrease pain and increase pleasure. Without arguing that human beings are essentially irrational, it argues or can be seen as a basis to argue, that the reasons people have for making their decisions are not based on a simple calculation, but rather on an intricate network of values, relations, opinions and idea(l)s. This goes against many of the main assumptions of capitalist theory, in particular the assumption that ‘primitive’ societies were always based on some system of exchange; instead, Mauss shows that this is not necessary and that a system of exchange or tit-for-tat was not always present in human societies. Again, the focus on utility as something necessarily inherent in human behavior – a staple of economic and political thought – is shown to be incorrect, allowing for a refocusing towards values instead of utility.

Taking education as a case in point, and especially when contrasting this third approach to the first two mentioned, the difference becomes clear. This is especially true of the first approach, with its focus on economic issues and the utilitarian spirit that expresses benefits in terms of economic benefits. The second approach of identity-creation might seem more similar, but at the same time its goal is to increase the stability of the EU in an attempt to solve the crisis that the EU is in.

Conclusion

     Arguing from the third approach, the problem is much more fundamental than simply a lack of identity, a lack of entrepreneurship, or a lack of solidarity. Instead, in this approach, the fundamental attitude to values such as solidarity and identity and even more so to education is quite simply wrong. What would be argued for in this case is a refocusing on values as primary goals in and for themselves, and on education as one of these, and to quote the biblical saying “all these things shall be added unto you”; put differently, in this perspective the order of things is reversed: whereas education is seen as a means to increase economic output, education (as well as other values) should be a goal served by economic means. To quote Mauss, “goodness and happiness [should be searched for in] the imposed peace, in the rhythm of communal and private labor, in wealth amassed and redistributed, in the mutual respect and reciprocal generosity that education can impart.” This is of course a highly idealistic point of view, and in the conclusion to this short essay, I do not want to argue in favor of one approach only. Rather, I would propose that these perspectives, whether they focuses on benefiting European economy, strengthening European identity or enhancing European solidarity, are each important but not enough by themselves. Especially in the context of the Eurocrisis it is necessary to create a more inclusive approach towards education. It should not be denied that education is an important tool in creating a stronger economy and fostering entrepreneurship, but at the same time education can be much more than this. It can also include the creation of community, the furthering of solidarity and the increase of the general well-being of the population. As such, education can and should be regarded as one of the main ways of dealing both with the causes and the effects of the Eurocrisis.

Short Bibliography

Caillé, A. (2004). Anti-utilitiarianism, economics and the gift-paradigm. Revue du MAUSS(24), 268-276.

‘European Commission. “Europe 2020”, Brussels, 2010’

Graeber, D. (2000). Give it Away. In These Times, 24(19).

Habermas, “The European Nation-State and the Pressures of Globalization, 1999

Mauss, M. (1967 (1923)). The Gift- Forms and fuctions of exchange in primitive societies. New York: The Norton Library.

Cultural Heritage – A Short Overview (Gábor Sonkoly)

The concept of (cultural) heritage is something that a lot, if not most, of TEMA students have encountered or will encounter during their time in TEMA. The following is a short overview of the concept of cultural heritage (CH), the concepts related to it, its history, its institutionalization as well as an analytical framework of its methodology. It is a helpful overview text for those who are working with this concept as well as an interesting text for those who are not. In any case, enjoy, and let us know if you have comments or responses!


Cultural Heritage (CH)

Dr.habil. Gábor Sonkoly, CSc.

1. What is CH?

The concept of CH belongs to a set of concepts, which is typical of contemporary tendencies to define and to mobilize current social, cultural and even spiritual attachments to a given community as well as to its place in a functional, inclusive and non-conflictual manner. In certain extent, CH is replacing (1) and/or institutionalizing (2) the other fuzzy concepts of the presentist set, since CH is the only presentist concept having a legally and administratively comprehensive origin (“heritage or patrimony”):

(1) CH is replacing “culture”, which was too academic (i.e. elitist, top-down) and, which was definitely put into plural (“cultureS”) (i) by the various emancipatory movements from the late 1960s onwards, (ii) by their academic recognition from the 1970s onwards, and (iii) by the institutionalized notion of “cultural diversity” from the 1990s onwards. CH is also replacing “identity”, which has been the catchword in postmodern Academia (1970s-2000s) as well as in supranational politico-economic formations like the EU and in subnational community self-expressions like multicultural urban neighbourhoods, and, accordingly, has become too vast and hollow for practical purposes. Moreover, both “culture” and “identity” inherited some conflictual and exclusive connotations from their inception.

(2) From the 1970s, “memory” (belonging to the individual, to a community or to any group) has been challenging the time-honored identity construction of SSH. As remembering of all levels of the society (local, regional, national and global) has become a wide-spread social practice and form of expression, its diverse manifestations have been exploited by political actors of all the different levels of the society to propose a new festive and inclusive character through the multiplication of the events of “commemoration”. The CH of a community can be considered as the institutionalized aggregate of the community’s selected pieces of memory and those of the memory-bearers. CH is not just a bottom-up form of identity-construction, but it can also include its marketing and branding procedures both for the inner and for the outer communities. These implementing acts of identity often take the form of commemorations.

CH is the administrative response to the social and cultural novelties of identity constructions, what SSH were trying to understand and interpret within their own conceptual framework. Therefore, CH (Studies) is still lacking an overall academic definition. The first and the most influential institutionalization of CH has been taking place at UNESCO, which has had an impact on the concept of CH at national, regional and continental levels, including the concept of CH of the EU.

The evolution of the concept of CH at UNESCO reflects the juridico-theoretical attempts of defining the ever-expanding nature of CH, which gradually incorporates monuments, neighbourhoods/zones, cities, natural landscapes, all kinds of species, cultural landscapes, social and cultural activities and groups. This process results the conceptual twins of tangible/intangible heritages. They linguistically suggest a unity of two (otherwise) significantly different approaches to CH:

(1) tangible CH is a successor of the monumental approach of the static conception of cultural and natural heritage (from the 1970s); whereas

(2) intangible CH stems from the critique of tangible CH (from the 1990s) and it is used to safeguard social and cultural practices dynamically.

The construction of European CH follows a similar logic to UNESCO by (1) first defining CH in various standard-setting documents as Architectural (1975, 1985) CH and Archeological CH (1992) in harmony with the European tradition of monumental protection; then, (2) by offering a broader definition of CH as “a group of resources inherited from the past which people identify, independently of ownership, as a reflection and expression of their constantly evolving values, beliefs, knowledge and traditions. It includes all aspects of the environment resulting from the interaction between people and places through time”, as it is stated in the Faro Convention in 2005. This broad definition, including social and cultural practices, is instrumentalized in the Horizon 2020 WP, in which CH, first time in this extent, appears as a key concept incorporating the role of culture as the fourth, or, rather the first, pillar of sustainability, and being the new conceptual bridge between society and nature expressed in the European Landscape Convention in 2000.

The academic institutionalization of CH has started belatedly because of the term’s administrative nature. There is still some bewilderment concerning the meaning of CH, which can refer to (1) any process of knowledge transmission in history, or, following the rules of conceptual history;(2) it is analyzed as a concept, which appeared in the late 1960s indicating new social and cultural realities. Different disciplines feel the necessity to reflect on CH, when its continuous expansion reaches their domain. During the previous decades of the rise of CH, two types of institutional intrusion have taken place:

(1) sciences and academic fields directly linked to the conservation of those past objects that represent a historical identity, which have gradually been referred to as “tangible heritage”, were often regrouped under the label of heritage (as in the case of the establishment of the Institut national du patrimoine in France in 2001);

(2) CH studies departments appeared in Faculties of SSH, which often baffled other academics, who were not certain whether this new discipline aims to describe new social realities created by cultural heritage or to assist in the creation of new identities expressed through cultural heritage.

The ambiguous notion of CH management, indicating that cultural heritage is also linked to political and financial realities, could mean both or neither.

 2. Why CH is successful?

CH is a contemporary concept to express contemporary social and cultural practices and identity constructions, which are:

much more based on the present and on the management of change than on modernist projects aiming at the future;

  • not founded on great (19th and early 20th) theories and ideologies explaining/expecting social development;
  • rather critical to SSH and even to urban planning, which have undergone a set of paradigm shifts commonly labelled as “turns” leading to certain credibility loss;
  • are closely linked to the democratization processes expressed by participatory legislation and, later, by the concepts of social and cultural inclusion;
  • open to the multiplication of identities and to the permeability between different levels of societies;

The logics of CH to define and to interpret the components of social and cultural appropriation is unusual from the modernist point of view, since

its territory is not divided between “the old” (prestigious, historic, protected) and “the new” (constantly developing), but by the use and by the interpretation of the concerned communities, which can select their significant places by their current practice from a space conceived as continuity;

  • its community gradually gives up the modern division between public and private spheres, (which was determined in the early modern centuries in Europe,) and places itself on the edge of this division to promote, to market and to brand itself and to satisfy the double (theoretically contradictory) expectation of (local) knowledge transfer towards their own future generations as well as towards the greater public including tourists;[1]
  • its relationship to time is based on the prevention of loss, i.e. the future is conceived as a probable scene for a(n) (ecological, natural, demographic, /accelerated/ social and economic) catastrophe, which must be managed with precaution. The CH’s present absorbs the past and it extends to avoid the unknown future under the label of sustainable development.

 3. How to handle CH?

Since CH is a novelty in Academia, its methodology needs to be developed. Out of several possible models of analysis, it is worth starting with the following three to establish an analytical framework:

  • The model of Regimes of Historicity[2] shows why the present aspect of time has replaced the future-based modernism in the last third of the 20th century, and what are the consequences of this newly born presentism on politics and on SSH;
  • Michel Foucault’s theory of the biopower explains how the new mechanisms of power had started working in the dawn of modernization and lead to security-based societies. One of the great advantages of this model is its permeability to our contemporary societies, in which “cultural diversity is as necessary for humankind as biodiversity for nature”.[3] In this context, the changing role of culture can be understood through the evolution of the notion of CH.
  • The inner conceptual conflicts of World CH lead to the unsolved problem of Authenticity, which is inherent to the interpretation of CH by its different stakeholders. The model of Regimes of Authenticity[4] can contribute to the comprehension of contradictory recognitions of the elements of CH by the concerned members of society.

 Notes

[1] As the Faro Convention states: “a heritage community consists of people who value specific aspects of cultural heritage which they wish, within the framework of public action, to sustain and transmit to future generations”. (Article 2.b.)

[2] It was developed by François Hartog and inspired by Reinhard Koselleck.

[3] UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, 2005.

[4] This model was developed by Lucie K. Morrisset.