Ethnographies of heritage and power

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This editorial provides a theoretical framework for understanding the entwining of heritage and power, while presenting the five papers presented by the authors in the journal issue. The later results from the 2010 meeting of the WG on Cultural Heritage and Property of the Société Internationale d’Ethnologie et Folklore. In particular, we have recourse to Lefebvre’s (1991 [1974]) theorisation of space as a social product; to the understanding of heritage as a cultural practice (e.g. L. Smith, 2006) and as ‘governmentality’ (e.g. L. Smith, 2004 L. Silva, 2011); to Wolf’s (1999) description of the modes through which power works on social relations; and to Hall’s (2010) four key-questions in power structure research in the domains of tourism. The argument is threefold: (i) power is generative to heritage, (ii) heritage is better understood when taken as a cultural practice, and (iii) in order to understand locality fully one must take into consideration the global dynamics at play on the local stage.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)437-443
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal Of Heritage Studies (Ijhs)
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012


  • Heritage
  • Power


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