A New Perspective on the Production and Evolution of Cultures
Edited by Enrico Bertacchini, Giangiacomo Bravo, Massimo Marrelli and Walter Santagata
Chapter 9: Cultural Commons and New Concepts in UNESCO World Heritage Sites Recognition and Management
Aldo Buzio and Alessio Re
9. Cultural commons and new concepts behind the recognition and management of UNESCO World Heritage sites Aldo Buzio and Alessio Re INTRODUCTION 1 The aim of this chapter is to analyze the evolution of the concept of cultural heritage within the UNESCO system and how it may be used to enhance World Heritage site management strategies. Moving from the more classical ideas of tangible cultural heritage towards new forms of intangible and dynamic cultural expressions, UNESCO is at the center of an international debate aimed at broadening the definition of cultural heritage. When the UNESCO Convention Concerning the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage was designed in 1972, the idea was to protect the most valuable forms of heritage from the threats of deterioration or modernization. As at that time global interest and mass tourism affected only a few cultural sites, in such a scenario the kind of heritage included was represented, with few outstanding exceptions, by European monuments or archeological sites. However, in the last decade changes have occurred which are imposing a change in perspective in the cultural heritage conceptualization (UNESCO 1994; Labadi 2007a, 2007b). First, since 1972, more and more countries from different geographical and cultural areas have joined the UNESCO World Heritage system. This enlargement of the UNESCO World Heritage community has implied therefore a slow but increasing shift from the originally established Western and European conceptions of cultural heritage in favor of a much broader understanding of it (Cleere 2000; Thorsell 2003). Second, the...
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