Accepted paper:

Conflicts around ethnographic heritage in Castilla y León (Spain)


Ignacio Fernandez de Mata (University of Burgos)

Paper short abstract:

In Castille and Leon, heritage is conceived an important pillar of economy. But, what happened with ethnographic heritage? Is it well protected and studied? Surprisingly, the regional government does not want to hear the community of anthropologists. Can be an Ethnology against Anthropology?

Paper long abstract:

The Junta de Castilla y León considers patrimony so fundamental to the region's economy, that one of the most recent slogans of its tourism agency is "Castilla y León: the largest museum in the world". Indeed, the region has eight UNESCO world heritage sites and various monuments (castles, cathedrals, etc.) that are considered "Bienes de Interés Cultural" by the Spanish government and are therefore protected by strict national legislation. But the region's own laws and policies regarding the conservation and protection of cultural heritage—including historical, architectural, and ethnographical elements—are surprisingly incoherent and ineffectual. Ethnographic heritage constitutes a sort of "enemy" for the regional government because it is inherently associated with identities that the mammoth political entity has been unable to thread into a single regional identity. This papaer will address these paradoxes, analyzing the management and definition of Castilla y León's ethnographic heritage in particular in view of the political and cultural tensions that it generates in the third largest region of the European Union.

panel Disc003
Is there a sense of community uniting anthropology, ethnology and folklore today? (World Council of Anthropological Associations panel)