Translating power: the fuzzy path of law from international convention to local politics in Japan
(University of Tsukuba)
Paper short abstract:
Based on my ethnographic field research in Nagasaki’s Goto islands, I analyze how local officials and the residents interpret zoning regulations and other legal matters of the World Heritage program, and how they connect and detach the legal aspect and the instrumental aspects of World Heritage.
Paper long abstract:
In this paper, I examine the process of how the legal aspect of UNESCO's World Heritage Convention is translated in a local government's development policy. In the last few decades, World Heritage has become a popular instrument of local-level tourism development around the world. In Japan, for example, several prefectural governments and municipalities, in efforts to obtain World Heritage status, have emphasized the global significance of their heritage properties, and hope to use World Heritage status as an instrument for local development. Such instrumental aspects of the World Heritage program often dominate media coverage and public discourse. However, when World Heritage nomination is adopted as part of an actual development policy of the local government, local officials and community members face the details of the instrumental aspects of World Heritage. The World Heritage Convention, an international treaty of heritage preservation, is a body of law. World Heritage can stand as an instrument for local economic development only after the locals can properly prepare reasonable preservation policies. Based on my ethnographic field research in Nagasaki's Goto islands, I analyze how local officials and the residents in Goto interpret and react to zoning regulations and other legal matters of the World Heritage program, and how they administratively connect and epistemologically detach the legal aspect and the instrumental aspects of World Heritage.
The future of law and globalization with anthropologies