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Posts Tagged ‘Nara Document’

Rethinking the global heritage discourse – overcoming ‘East’ and ‘West’?

This article illustrates how Japan’s involvement in international heritage discourse, in particular since the Nara Conference in 1994, played an important role in the development of a global understanding of heritage and what it constitutes. It explores the way the Ise Shrine came to be represented as an iconic example of an ‘Eastern approach’ to heritage to become central in the paradigm shift within global heritage discourse towards acknowledging cultural diversity. In this article, however, I argue that the presentation and understanding of the Ise Shrine has perpetuated a number of misconceptions about an Eastern approach to heritage conservation. In particular, its presentation and interpretation as a cultural site devoid of its distinct religious and political significance, limits what can be learned from it. This article argues that without full recognition of the religious beliefs intimately embedded in the traditional social structures, practices and attitudes related to heritage sites, recognition of cultural diversity would remain limited.
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Authenticity, Value and Community Involvement in Heritage Management under the World Heritage and Intangible Heritage Conventions

The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage and Intangible Heritage Conventions illustrate a broader trend towards greater appreciation of the role of communities concerned in identifying, managing and protecting their heritage today. This paper will discuss requirements for greater community involvement in heritage identification and management under the two Conventions, with special attention to the determination of heritage value and the question of authenticity. The Nara Document on Authenticity of 1994, incorporated into the Operational Guidelines of the World Heritage Convention in 2005 (: Annex 4), encouraged a broader definition of authenticity that is sensitive to cultural context. Nevertheless, the determination of heritage value and authenticity remains in the hands of experts rather than communities associated with World Heritage properties. Although there is no reference to authenticity in the Intangible Heritage Convention, States Parties are specifically requested to ensure that it is communities, groups or individuals concerned who identify the value of their own intangible heritage. Yet because of a lack of oversight mechanisms under the Convention, it is difficult to ensure that this is done, especially since there is no permanent mechanism for community representation to the Organs of either Convention.
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