Cultural Heritage: Critical Concepts in Media and Cultural Studies

1st Edition

Laurajane Smith

Published December 7, 2006
Reference - 1664 Pages
ISBN 9780415352420 - CAT# RU52428
Series: Critical Concepts in Media and Cultural Studies


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Cultural Heritage is a new title in the Routledge Major Works series, Critical Concepts in Media and Cultural Studies. Edited by Laurajane Smith of the University of York, UK, this four-volume collection brings together the essential Anglophone literature of heritage studies. Encompassing both contemporary material and material of historical significance from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the collection is explicitly interdisciplinary, with research drawn not only from the three disciplines of archaeology, architecture and history traditionally associated with material heritage, but also from subjects such as geography, anthropology, museology, sociology, cultural studies, performance studies and tourism studies. As an emerging field of academic enquiry, the sheer scale of the growth in research output in heritage studies makes this collection especially timely, and meets the demand for a comprehensive reference work to give greater clarity and focus to this fast-developing area. Its value also lies in its bringing together the best scholarship from the various disciplines that are newly turning their attention to issues relating to ‘heritage’, as well as in identifying cultural heritage’s key themes and debates.

The first volume (‘History and Concepts’) in the collection describes the development of the modern concern with conserving and preserving material from the past—often conceptualized as ‘heritage’. It also gathers the best research about the key concepts and principles underlying heritage management and conservation practices.

Volume 2 (‘Critical Concepts in Heritage’) traces the dissonant and contested nature of heritage practices and the various attempts that have been made to theorize heritage conservation, curation and preservation practices. The volume contains work on the debates over indigenous heritage, national identity, and memory and heritage, together with papers that attempt to explain and contextualize these debates.

Volume 3 (‘Heritage as an Industry’) collects the most significant scholarship on issues about the so-called ‘commodification’ of the past and the creation of ‘consensual histories’, while Volume 4 (‘Interpretation and Community’) contains the key material on the practice of heritage interpretation and community heritage projects, as well as work on the developing debates about the nature of intangible heritage.

The collected materials are supplemented by an introduction to each volume, newly written by the editor, together with a full index. It is destined to be welcomed by scholars and teachers of cultural heritage—and those working in allied disciplines—as an invaluable reference resource.

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