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David Charles Harvey

Heritage and peace-building: challenges, possibilities and sustainable practices

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review

  • Feras Hammami, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
  • David Harvey
  • Daniel Laven, Mid Sweden University, Sweden
  • Diana Walters, United Kingdom
This chapter explores the challenges, possibilities and practices within work connecting heritage studies and peacebuilding. On the face of it, peacebuilding practices appear to have a problem with heritage, since notions of heritage seem to lie at the heart of so much conflict around the world. Heritage artefacts and sites have become targets, while heritage narratives are curated to sew discord, underscore difference and are even used as an excuse for acts of aggression. The nuances of ‘dissonance’ and contested meanings get a little lost, as heritage ‘difference’ is euphemistically deployed as an unreflexive backdrop to violence, rather than a source of learning. Thus, an imagined – if not invented – mosaic of exclusive identities becomes naturalised and enhanced, or even violently enforced, through the careful conservation of certain tangible and intangible cultural heritage narratives, even where that entails the destruction of others. While tropes of heritage discourse seem dominant and colonial, we argue that an alternative framing can always be imagined, excavated and applied. In this chapter we will explore the potential of heritage for peacebuilding by looking at a number of applied peacebuilding practices within the cultural heritage of conflict. Developing a critical review of the spaces and tensions between heritage and peacebuilding in theory, the chapter focuses on practices from below through a series of short case studies that contain messages of humility and social justice. Thus, rather than starting from here, perhaps it is possible to start from somewhere else; an ambition to think what might be possible with a willful sense of idealism. Drawing on ideas of reconstructive learning, heritage from below, co-resistance, and disinheritance, the chapter makes a contribution of ‘pacific heritage’ to the debates and practices on heritage management and sustainability.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Sustainable Heritage
EditorsK. Fouseki, M. Cassar, G. Dreyfuss, K.A.K. Eng
Place of publicationAbingdon
Publication yearJul 2022
ISBN (print)9780367482749
ISBN (Electronic)9781003038955
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022

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