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Which, and whose, 'rules' are adhered to, when the so-called 'participatory turn' is applied by ethnologists, folklorists and others to carrying out research on and with communities and individuals in relation to difficult and dissonant heritage in Europe?
Following the 'participatory turn' in public history, heritage, museum and memory practices, which highlighted community participation and empowerment as a counter to previous hegemonic structures and the Authorised Heritage Discourse (Smith 2006), we now draw attention to hitherto neglected questions arising from it. Whose 'rules' does such participation adhere to, and which communities have felt empowered or been permitted to take 'ownership' of difficult heritage in Europe?
This panel and roundtable combined format session therefore invites contributions exploring two interconnected issues:
1. the ways in which some actors - such as populist or far-right groups - break the 'rules' of 'shared heritage' and inclusivity in their adoption and appropriation of community heritage practices as a strategic performance of cultural legitimacy, or as a subversion of established memory cultures.
2. the ways in which academic researchers and professionals working on difficult heritage or community participation may need to rethink 'the rules', both of their own fieldwork and of existing theories of participation, by reflecting on the power inherent to institutions offering participatory activities, and on issues of selectivity.