VOL: 4, NO: 1, 45-55, 2007-1


Whose identity? Valuing the culture built heritage in diverse and tensioned societies




University of Ulster Belfast UK


Invited Paper



The UNESCO declaration on cultural diversity in 2002 has raised more questions than answers. More recent events around the World have highlighted the immediate need for legislative actions to protect cultural built heritage in tensioned societies. This paper discusses the potential global risks that face cultural built Heritage. The paper argues that such risks are not only limited to regions where military operations are taking place but also to nations where questions of identity and cultural diversity are raised. The paper questioned the reasons and the impact of the rise of ethno nationalism on the protection of cultural built heritage. The different discourses of these groups that will lead to destruction of cultural artefacts are also explored. In order to properly legislate means for the protection of vulnerable cultural built heritage in conflict areas, the underline value system should be clarified and the values under threat identified.  The paper concludes with a plea to move our understanding and definition of culture from the previous ‘old’ definition with relation to ‘people’ to a ‘new’ one which is more relevant to context.


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