Accepted Paper:

Meanings of culture and heritage in Essaouira, Morocco  
Raquel Alves Neves Carvalheira (Universidade NOVA de Lisboa)

Paper long abstract:

This paper debates the meanings attributed to "cultural heritage" in the small city of Essaouira in Morocco's Atlantic coast. The city presents itself to visitors as "cultural and artistic", "charming and well tempered" thus attracting tourists from all over the country and abroad. Its recounted history is that of a city that prospered economically during the period of the European Expansion but that experienced long periods of decay over the past century. The launching of the Gnawa music festival, the investment in the production of argan oil, the renewal of the Portuguese and French military structures and the consequent attribution of UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 2001, were part of a plan for the strategic revitalization of Essaouira which engaged local associations as well as national and international organizations. Using ethnographic data, the paper will discuss how different entities produce diverse meanings out of the shared notions of culture and heritage, by relation to economic and political processes of wider global reach.

Panel W039
Selling tradition by the pound: intangibile cultural heritage and the marketing of localities