Economic Discourse and Heritage Conservation: Towards an Ethnography of Administrations

Heritage & Society, Vol. 6 No. 2, November, 2013, 167–184

Posted: 3 Sep 2014

See all articles by Luca Zan

Luca Zan

University of Bologna - Department of Management

Date Written: September 2, 2014

Abstract

The paper aims at bridging economic and management discourse on Heritage Conservation, calling for a kind of ethnographic approach to administrative aspects. Drawing attention to practices more than policies, the paper takes a distance from mainstream cultural economics. More than cultural capital, the emphasis is on running operations, current costs and revenues, once the investment (in conservation and opening of the site) is done. At first, an assumption of autonomy of the individual entity in charge of the heritage site is introduced, to set up a basic analytical framework. Soon after, however, the issue of partial autonomy of heritage entities is posed, as part of a quite general administrative tradition outside the Anglo American world. Implications and cautions needed for the analysis are discussed. In addition, the paper relates these general elements in the study of heritage organizations with the more specific theme of the "Nara issue", the call for a more pluralistic, less Western-centered, view of the heritage field. This means addressing also the issue of a variety of administrative traditions, which need to be investigated, and understood, to make change possible.

Keywords: cultural heritage, intangible heritage, authenticity, cultural diversity, Nara Document, historic preservation, heritage management, world heritage

JEL Classification: L31, L83, M00, Z10

Suggested Citation

Zan, Luca, Economic Discourse and Heritage Conservation: Towards an Ethnography of Administrations (September 2, 2014). Heritage & Society, Vol. 6 No. 2, November, 2013, 167–184, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2490437

Luca Zan (Contact Author)

University of Bologna - Department of Management ( email )

Via Capo di Lucca 34
Bologna, 40126
Italy

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