Monuments, buildings and sights. These are our traditional views on what heritage was and what some still believe is (Smith 2006).
Never the less, society has progressed to a greater understanding of heritage, now recognising that heritage is in fact both intangible and tangible, fluid, socially determined, and living (Harrison 2010).
As our understandings of heritage have shifted, the more it has become contested and diversified. This can especially be seen in relation to multiculturalism. A nation that is multicultural is bound to have contested and diversified views on heritage; this is particularly seen in relation to national identities and collective memories (Harrison 2010).
This essay will explain the traditional views of heritage and how these views have shifted in modern society. The essay will also explain how multicultural society’s heritage can become a production site of national identity, and lastly Britain is looked at as a case study on how national heritage excludes minorities, and how minorities have developed a voice to contested national heritage.
Traditional views of heritage are well examined and explained by Smith (2006) in what she calls the Authorised Heritage Discourse (AHD).
The AHD is characterised by; a need for expertise, focus on the intangible, elitism (white, male, middle and upper class), focus on national identity, property that is inherently valuable, all that is positive (effectively ignoring negatives), and a universal past (Smith 2006; Smith & Waterton 2009).
Senator Smith clearly demonstrated his lack of government experience and overall ignorance of the Senate's character when he ambitiously struggled to create a national boy's camp. When Smith asked his secretary, Clarissa Saunders, to help him assemble the bill aimed at forming a boy's camp, Saunder's explained that the bill was very unlikely to be successful in the Senate and tried to discourage ...
This view of heritage came about through the period of enlightenment and the European nations struggle towards liberalism and nationalism in the late 1800’s (Smith 2006).
Heritage was effectively used to bind a nation together during and after such a new and turbulent time period. This is seen in public monuments, statues and buildings; which were a testament to achievement, superiority and national identity, in modern Europe (Smith 2006).
Museums in Europe were yet another public source to unite a country through, collections and artefacts from around the world, again demonstrating superiority, elitism, and achievement (Smith 2006).
This ‘collecting of culture’ in the 20th century became the co modification of heritage, and seeing fabric form rather than the social or the intangible (Byrne 2008).In the 1990’s society started to come away from the view of heritage as purely tangible, we now recognise that heritage is both the tangible and intangible (Byrne 2008; 2009; Smith 2006; Smith & Waterton 2009).
But the struggle to adapt and accept the new definitions of heritage as fluid, socially determined, and not necessarily remarkable, remains a distant and strange concept to former believers of traditional views of heritage (Byrne 2009).
Britain particularly finds it difficult to accept the definition of the qualities of intangible heritage (Smith & Waterton 2009).
Instead they place importance on the more traditional views of heritage as expressed in the AHD, including need for expertise, focusing on the tangible, and still placing a greater importance on the heritage of the elite. Again we still even see the negatives of traditional views of heritage reflected in UNESCO’s Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage (2003).
This act was to be a step away from traditional views of heritage but it still places importance on the exceptional, and implies that intangible heritage is fixed rather than fluid and ever changing (Harrison 2010).While heritage is becoming more diverse and contested in today’s society, as evidence of the changing views about intangible heritage, it is still also apparent that negative factors of traditional views of heritage linger. In an increasingly globalised and multicultural world where we are clinging to our identities in the face of increasing similarities, we see as a consequence an increase in national identity stories or collective memories (Harrison 2010).
"Our American Heritage and Our Responsibility for Preserving It " Our Country was founded on sound principles. These principles were constructed to preserve our natural rights. These rights include free speech, free press and the ability to think for one's self. America was established as a proud nation, who's destiny to become great was undeniable. In today's society, many are questioning the ...
This effectively makes heritage diverse and contested in relation to multiculturalism, because of the exclusivity of national identities.
The term multiculturalism came into use in the 1970’s, it began in Canada and soon followed to Australia, other countries that are considered multicultural are Britain, New Zealand and USA. The term multiculturalism was used to manage the problem of the existence of a wide number of different ethnic groups within a single nation (Harrison 2010).
By acknowledging the term Multiculturalism governments recognised the failure of assimilation policies, and recognised the positives of cultural diversity (Harrison 2010).
For multiculturalism to succeed it needs the different groups of people, seeing themselves as existing with the nation and the nation with them (Harrison 2010).
Without this mutual understanding there will be a discordant nation (Harrison 2010).
An example of this is seen where Britain experienced a breakdown of their multicultural nation in the Stephen Lawrence case where the state failed to provide adequate investigation to a violent racial crime (Bloxham 2011).
Now only a few decades later the multicultural society is contested, and governments are struggling to maintain a harmonious nation where there is an abundance of many cultural values (Harrison 2010).
To overcome the problem of controlling a multicultural nation, national identities and collective memories are constructed to belong to the majority, consequently excluding minorities (Waterton 2010).Therefore heritage is diverse and contested in multicultural societies because of how national identity is constructed, and consumed. As Hall (2008) stated, heritage is used by a nation to construct a collective memory selecting achievements and highpoints in history to write a national story. This national story also effectively ignores the bad, the ugly, the negatives and in turn silences a part of history that could be another minority’s heritage. Hall (2008) states that the institutions that believe and hold the national story put a deep investment in their own truth, which makes it extremely difficult to change, shift or reverse the story. This is because the AHD and the traditional views of heritage rationalise this particular way of constructing and maintaining a national identity (Smith 2006).As a result these traditional beliefs, have shaped the way heritage is produced and consumed, and who ultimately gets to be part of it or not (Littler 2005).
History has a tendency to repeat itself. America from 1783 to 1800 had faced political, economic, and social problems that Great Britain had faced prior to the American Revolution with their relations with the colonies. After the Revolutionary War, Americans and British governments suffered economically from faced huge national debts that were also added by French and Indian War which later leads ...
This effectively makes heritage diverse and contested through multiculturalism as different people will contest, with national identify, and collective memories.
It can be seen that multiculturalism has shifted our understanding of traditional views of heritage, making it more diversified and contested, through the exclusion of minority groups in national identities and selective collective memories. This is especially seen in Britain, but is not limited too. As academics reflect on ‘what it is to be British’ (Hall 2008; Littler 2005), it is noted that there is little to no room for different cultures in Britain’s national identity, despite being a nation that is made up of many culturally diverse groups. Many argue (Hall 2008; Smith & Waterton 2009) that Britain fails so drastically to include any multiculturalism heritage into their national story because they are so rooted in traditional views of heritage. Hall (2008) states how traditional views of British heritage have become the embodiment of the spirit of the nation, and effectively excluded the minorities. An example of exclusivity in British heritage can be seen in the commemoration of the 200 year anniversary of the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade in Britain. Waterton (2010) argues that this commemoration was simply a distraction from the failure of multiculturalism and reoccurring racism in Britain. The commemoration showed the achievements of the British, and the British ideals of heritage as seen in the AHD, rather than the injustice suffered (Waterton 2010).
Minority is a word describing a group representing a population smaller than the State. They are people of distinct culture, religion, language and ethnicity from the norms of the Society. Any group resembling the stated characteristics is a Minority. This description clearly emphasizes the rebuttal of Human Rights to people who are not living within the standards of the society. Group Rights or ...
Waterton (2010) describes how Britain’s large role in the slave trade was played down in official ceremonies and instead heroism and achievement of the abolition were the highlight of the commemoration. This again demonstrates how nations form collective memories and national identities excluding minorities, making heritage contested and diversified. What makes heritage contested in Britain is the voice of the minorities protesting against these national identities and collective memories. For example the consortium of black groups (COBG) (2007) said that they would not support commemoration celebrations as the state had not supported their recommendations for the commemoration, nor had the state been inclusive in care towards their people, enacting a modern day form of slavery, excluding minorities through selective collective memories. Toyin Agbetu also voiced his discontent over collective identity at the 2007 commemoration service in Westminster Abbey which he was attending (Kirton 2007).
Agbetu objected to the way the service was being conducted, he was thrown out of the service for publically announcing that the service was an insult. Many supported and agreed with Agbetu that heroism of Britain was highlighted and the atrocities suffered were generally not discussed, he was praised by minority groups for standing to the one sided collective memory of the abolition of the slave trade (Kirton 2007).
These public statements made by these minority groups allow society to see the different stories produced in relation to the 2007 commemoration celebrations in Britain, and understand just how contested and diversified heritage is in relation to multiculturalism in Britain today.
It is understood through this essay that heritage is always diverse and contested and will never hold a universal truth (Smith 2006), this can clearly be seen in relation to multiculturalism. Heritage has become diversified and contested because of traditional views versus modern views of heritage, how multiculturalism has become a production site for national identity effectively excluding minorities, and how in return minorities have developed a voice against this exclusion as seen in Britain. Therefore heritage can longer ever be understood as simply buildings, sights and monuments. Heritage is complex, social, fluid and ever changing, it is also contested and diversified as seen in relation to multiculturalism and possibly will be forever so.
Ideas about the legal and political accommodation of ethnic diversity — commonly termed “multiculturalism” — emerged in the West as a vehicle for replacing older forms of ethnic and racial hierarchy with new relations of democratic citizenship. Despite substantial evidence that these policies are making progress toward that goal, a chorus of political leaders has declared them a failure and ...
Byrne, D 2009, ‘A critique of unfeeling heritage’, in L Smith & N Akagawa (eds), Intangible heritage, Routledge, London, pp. 229-52.
Byrne, D 2008, ‘Heritage as social action’, in G Fairclough, R Harrison, JH Jameson Jnr, & J Schofield (eds), The heritage reader, Routledge, New York, pp. 149-74.
Bloxham A 2011, ‘Stephen Lawrence: the legal ruling in full’, The Telegraph, 18 May, viewed 10 October 2011.
Consortium of Black Groups (COBG) 2007 ‘Position statement on the bi-centenary of the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade (Maafa)
Hall, S 2008, ‘Whose heritage? Un-settling ‘The Heritage’, re-imaganing the post-nation’, in G Fairclough, R Harrison, JH Jameson Jnr, & J Schofield (eds), The heritage reader, Routledge, New York, pp. 219-28.
Harrison, R 2010, ‘Multicultural and minority heritage’, in T Benton (ed), Understanding Heritage and Memory, Manchester University Press in association with The Open University, Manchester, pp. 164-201
Kirton A 2007, ‘Discontent voiced over slavery’, BBC News, 3 April 2007, viewed 10 October 2011
Littler, J 2005, ‘Introduction: British heritage and the legacies of ‘race”, in J Littler & R Naidoo (eds), The politics of heritage: the legacies of ‘race’, Routledge, New York, pp. 1-19.
Smith, L 2006, ‘Discourse of heritage’, in Uses of heritage, Routledge, New York, pp. 11-43.
Smith, L., & Waterton, E 2009,‘The envy of the world?’ Intangible heritage in England, in Smith, L & Akagawa, N, Intangible heritage, Routledge, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon, New York, NY, pp. 289-302
Waterton, E 2010, ‘Humiliated silence: multiculturalism, blame and the trope of ‘moving on”, Museum and Society, vol. 8, no. 3, pp. 128–57.
The death of Anna Nicole Smith The life of celebrity is known more for turbulent life off-camera. Anna Nicole Smith died at a South Florida hospital, on February 8, 2007. Anna Nicole Smith was a stage name for Vickie Lynn Marshall. The woman was an American model (Playboy Playmate and former Guess model), actress (the reality TV star) and celebrity. She was 39. Anna Nicole Smith was in the focus ...