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Karine Basset, Caroline Darroux and Pierre Judet

This chapter addresses the issue of heritagisation and enhancing resources from the past by focusing on the case of mountain areas. As historians, Basset, Darroux and Judet take account of the dual nature of a territorial resource, that is, as both a symbolic entity and an objectifiable (tangible or intangible) entity that may generate economic value. Drawing on a diverse array of data (oral and written archives, historical monographs, press articles, institutional documents, scholarly speeches etc.), the analysis shows the narratives, the events and the context that enable a reconstitution of the historical trajectory of heritagisation for the two cases at hand: industrial activity (steel cutting) in an urbanised alpine valley (the Arve Valley), and the archaeological and landscape history (Gallic vestiges) of a depopulated rural area in Burgundy (Bibracte/Mount Beuvray). In particular, the authors find a case of “permanent heritagisation” in the Arve Valley, whereas in the case of Bibracte/Mount Beuvray, the question of heritagisation is more open, with tensions surrounding the issue of defining and exploiting the heritage value of the place, drawing an alternative path to considering the local resource as exogenous or a source of enrichment. By using methods based on history and anthropology, the chapter reconstitutes historical paths of heritagisation for the two cases, each of which has its own specificity, to challenge the classical analysis of enhancing the past and, thereby, to call into question the economy of enrichment.