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David Charles Harvey

Heritage and scale: settings, boundaries and relations

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While recent years have seen increasing interest in the geographies of heritage,
very few scholars have interrogated the difference that scale makes. Indeed, in a
world in which the nation state appears to be on the wane, the process of articulating
heritage on whatever scale – whether of individuals and communities,
towns and cities, regions, nations, continents or globally – becomes ever more
important. Partly reflecting this crisis of the national container, researchers have
sought opportunities both through processes of ‘downscaling’, towards community, family and even personal forms of heritage, as well as ‘upscaling’, towards a universal understanding of heritage. While such work has had critical impact within prescribed scalar boundaries, we need to build a theoretical understanding of what an emergent relationship between heritage and scale does within the context of dynamic power relations. This paper examines how heritage is produced and practised, consumed and experienced, managed and deployed at a variety of scales, exploring how notions of scale, territory and boundedness have a profound effect on the heritage process. Drawing on the work of Doreen Massey and others, the paper considers how the heritage–scale relationship can be articulated as a process of openness, pluralism and relationality.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Heritage Studies
Pages (from-to)577-593
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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