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Accepted Paper:

The role of UNESCO World Heritage List inscription in the process of cultural memory creation: the case of Arab-Norman Palermo  


Emanuela Caravello (University of Palermo)
Mauro Ferrante (University of Palermo )

Paper short abstract:

This paper analyzes the role of WHL inscription as a mean for image creation of places. In this study, the revitalization of the Arab-Norman image of Palermo city (Sicily) is discussed and the process of social construction of cultural heritage and the roles of the actors involved analyzed.

Paper long abstract:

This paper proposes a reflection on the conceptualization of image creation of cities and places adopted by UNESCO at the global and the local level. The concept is analyzed in relation to the social construction of cultural heritage carried out by local actors. Special attention is given to the role of UNESCO in the process of creation of collective memory and on the ways in which citizens are involved in creating the image of a city. The potential deriving from new technologies in shaping the image of a place is also discussed. The study context examined is the city of Palermo (Sicily) and the UNESCO site "Arab-Norman Palermo and the Cathedrals Churches of CefalĂș and Monreale". The cultural and stylistic overlap that underlies the exceptional universal value recognized by the site represents the conscious selection of a portion of places' memory which may determine the obscuration of other cultural forms of representation of the city. The essential role of all the actors involved (the representatives of the institutions, citizens and visitors ) and of their interaction in the construction of origins and space is critically examined, as a fundamental component of the image creation process. Only by retracing the itineraries of memory it is possible to trace the coordinates of the present time and to orient a community in space, in places and therefore in itself.

Panel U08
Urban Experiments in Memory and Forgetting