Accepted Paper:

World Heritage in the making: making politics and making conceptualizations  

Author:

Hans-Jakob Ågotnes (University of Bergen)

Paper short abstract:

This paper will investigate the efforts to promote four different places related to the history of industrialization in Norway to a (shared) place on the UNESCO World Heritage List. It will concentrate on the consequences for people's self-understanding, for the professional knowledge of the heritage institutions and for local economic and cultural practices.

Paper long abstract:

In Norway as elsewhere, in recent years the more important new heritage projects have become more internationally oriented, partly as an effect of the attraction of the World Heritage idea. This paper will investigate political, economic and cultural dimensions in the efforts to promote four different places related to the history of industrialization to a (shared) place on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The project involves people engaged in activities at very different levels, from local activists and people in general, to heritage institutions and local, regional and national government. It is marked by considerable tension, and different conceptions of the aims and rationale of the project are explicated as positions are shaped and argumented. It is necessary both to make administrative decisions and to construct heritage. In this process, the meaning of the history of industrial society is actualized, as is also the relative significance of local industrial communities for national development and the understanding of the paths of future development for the same communities.

Compared to most national heritage projects of the past, there are several new aspects to this, among them, the scale, the implications for local economic activity, and the reinterpretation of recent history, which has implications for the self-understanding of living people. At the same time, the knowledge of the professional heritage workers is changing with their expanding work field.

Panel P312
Making heritage, making knowledge