Handbook of Research on Development and Religion
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Handbook of Research on Development and Religion

Edited by Matthew Clarke

With eighty percent of the world’s population professing religious faith, religious belief is a common human characteristic. This fascinating and highly unique Handbook brings together state-of-the-art research on incorporating religion into development studies.
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Chapter 21: Cultural heritage and development in South East Asia

Jonathan Sweet and Jo Wills


This chapter discusses research undertaken into the developmental role of museums and heritage sites in Thailand and the Greater Mekong Subregion, a geographical area that also includes Cambodia, Laos PDR and Myanmar. It contextualizes an international project, the Lampang Temples Project, to explore the potential role that museums and heritage sites can play in place-based development work, particularly in an Asian context where sacred places are simultaneously valued by local members of the community and as destinations for religious pilgrims and international tourists. The discussion of the Lampang Temples Project is located within an understanding of the international discourse concerning the roles of museums in development, including those contributions to this discourse that have originated in the Asia-Pacific region. It is also situated within an understanding of the role of international agencies and local governments in the promotion of programmes and infrastructure for the preservation of Buddhist heritage and the relationship of this development strategy with tourism.

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