Constrained by Commonsense

Laurajane Smith and Emma Waterton

in The Oxford Handbook of Public Archaeology

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199237821
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Archaeology

 Constrained by Commonsense

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This article explores the ways in which the multiplicity of the meaning of heritage is overshadowed, so much so that a particular idea about ‘heritage’ has come to represent the dominant and legitimized way of thinking, writing, and talking about heritage management practices. It argues that the dominant way of seeing heritage – ‘authorized heritage discourse’ – has become so comfortable and commonplace within heritage management practices that wider debate over heritage is significantly constrained. Indeed, so pervasive is this air of inevitability that any new debates are ultimately unlikely to lead to changes in heritage management and planning practices. Although the article is illustrated with English policy and management debates, the general issues of the way authorizing notions and discourses of heritage operate have a wider application, both in other national contexts and in international heritage agencies.

Keywords: heritage; multiplicity; management; authorized heritage discourse

Article.  8843 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology ; Contemporary and Public Archaeology

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