Accepted Paper:

Participation: introducing new actorhood in the heritage decision making process?  


Malin Weijmer (University of Gothenburg)

Paper short abstract:

In this paper actors as ‘knowledgeable agents’ will be discussed in terms of participatory heritage processes. By using two case studies from a Swedish context the negotiation of actorhood will be analyzed and put in relation to the emergence of spaces for influence and co-creating heritages.

Paper long abstract:

Since the late twentieth century the official heritage policies in Sweden has been guided by a political ambition for engaging with a diversity of heritage sites and including the plural public interpretations of heritage values and meanings. In addition several specified national projects highlighting inclusion and participatory processes in heritage management have been run by the official agencies during the last twenty years. Yet, the participatory turn in the Swedish official heritage management is still under-researched. There is a lack of knowledge on how actorhood and heritage claims are negotiated and contested in the participatory processes.

The paper aims to discuss whether the idea of participation as a practice leads to a re-negotiation of actors, spaces for inclusion and claims on heritage or not. This will be done by comparing two cases that focuses on participation as a dissonant process rather than consensus-led approach. Case one concerns a dialogue process led by the official heritage manager to document a multivocal place. Case two concerns the production of a heritage plan for a municipality with the enrolment of local publics. Using actorhood and knowledgeability in terms of discretion and position and control, heritage management is here thought of in terms of authoritative resources and legitimizing claim-making. Participation is then understood as facilitating new resources (allocative) with the potential to rearrange authoritative position. Giddens (1993) notion on actors as 'knowledgeable agents' are a guiding theoretical frame work together with the understanding of heritage as a 'cultural imaginary' (Dawson 1994).

Panel Heri03
Imperatives of participation in the heritage regime: statecraft, crisis, and creative alternatives (Cultural Heritage and Property Working Group)