The EU’s explicit and implicit heritage politics
Title: The EU’s explicit and implicit heritage politics
Author: LÄHDESMÄKI, Tuuli
Citation: European Societies, 2014, Vol. 16, No. 3, pp. 401–421
During the past couple of decades, heritage has become topical in a new way in Europe as the concept has been utilized for political purposes in the EU cultural policy. The EU currently administrates or supports three initiatives – the European Heritage Days, the European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage, and the European Heritage Label – that address the fostering of the transnational European cultural heritage. The article discusses the explicit and implicit heritage politics included in these initiatives. In order to understand the constructive and generative nature of the EU heritage politics, it is approached in the article as a discursive meaning-making process consisting of several political aims, the strategies for obtaining them, and the underlying ideologies on which the aims and the strategies are based upon. The main focuses of the EU’s heritage politics are determined in the article as: the politics of integration, image-building, education, governmentality, and the economy. The fundamental strategy in the implementation of the EU heritage politics is to mingle the top-down and bottom-up dynamics between the EU and the local agents. This is at the same time its ideological core: to produce seemingly self-creating and self-maintaining coherency and cultural integration in the EU.
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