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    Heritage, imperialism and commodification: how the West can always do it best

    Macmillan, Fiona (2017) Heritage, imperialism and commodification: how the West can always do it best. Europa Ethnica 74 (3-4), pp. 114-124. ISSN 0014-2492.

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    The standard discourse around the destruction of cultural heritage is largely confined to a concern about the physical destruction of monumental, and thus immoveable, objects and is almost exclusively about tangible things. Because conceiving of cultural heritage as being mainly tangible and monumental has a strongly Western flavour this also means that this discourse is imbricated with an “us and them”, West and the rest, flavour. In the current geo-political situation, understanding the destruction of cultural heritage in these terms focuses upon motivations for destruction that are broadly political and/or indicate the absence of acceptable (Western) values. In this article, I argue that the notion of the destruction of cultural heritage should, rather, be focussed on situations where the inherent nature of something as heritage is destroyed. Such a concept might very well include the dynamiting of ancient sites, but my argument is that it is much broader. In order to sustain this argument the article reflects on the inherent nature of heritage, movable and immovable, tangible and intangible. The article then moves on to suggest an alternative vision of the destruction of cultural heritage that is rooted, not in some epochal clash between the West and the rest, but rather in the geo-political movements and legal ordering that have emerged in the post-colonial period.


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Business and Law > Birkbeck Law School
    Depositing User: Fiona Macmillan
    Date Deposited: 23 Nov 2017 08:00
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:37


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