Memorylands: Heritage and Identity in Europe Today

Memorylands: Heritage and Identity in Europe Today

by Sharon Macdonald
     
 

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Memorylands investigates the nature of heritage, memory and understandings of the past in Europe today. It addresses the ongoing apparent ‘memory obsession’ evident in a proliferation of museums, heritage sites and memorials, and arguments about the changing nature of identities – especially national, European and global. Its aim is to provide

Overview

Memorylands investigates the nature of heritage, memory and understandings of the past in Europe today. It addresses the ongoing apparent ‘memory obsession’ evident in a proliferation of museums, heritage sites and memorials, and arguments about the changing nature of identities – especially national, European and global. Its aim is to provide a new perspective on the place of the past, especially as manifest in museums, heritage and memorials, in different parts of Europe.

This book will address the important questions of how the past is understood in Europe today, how this informs contemporary identities, and what roles public and material culture play in this. This is a topic of considerable academic and policy discussion, and it relates directly to expanding areas of interest in identities, memory, material culture, Europe, and tourism. Drawing especially, though not exclusively, on concepts and arguments in anthropology and ‘historical consciousness’, this volume argues for a deeper and more nuanced understanding of the cultural assumptions involved in relating to the past. It seeks to theorise the different ways in which ‘materialisations’ of identity in heritage organisations work; and to relate these to different forms of identification within Europe. It uses case-studies to bring together examples from the margins as well as the metropolitan centres of Europe, from relatively small-scale and local cases as well as the national and avant-garde, and from the potentially identity-disrupting (or ‘difficult’) as well as identity-affirming.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Memorylands offers a detailed mapping of the complex and varied ways in which memory, heritage and history interact to make the past present within Europe. Macdonald argues that this has profound implications for what she calls European cosmopolitan conviviality. Drawing on ethnographic research across a number of European countries, the book demonstrates why memory and heritage matter in terms of contemporary cultural policy, politics and cultural production. Macdonald draws on her own extensive research, supplemented by a wide-ranging synthesis of ethnographic writing, to make a decisive anthropological intervention into ongoing debates in memory and heritage studies." - Laurajane Smith, The Australian National University

"With an impressively light touch and a no less impressively wide-ranging grasp of complex arguments, Sharon Macdonald has given us a coherent, convincing, and historically deep account of what heritage has been and where it may be going. Through her concept of ‘past presencing’, she successfully traces and illustrates its socio-cultural trajectories through sometimes wildly differing terrains of memory, nostalgia, and conservation. Her examination of the European contexts in which so much of the interest in heritage has emerged, moreover, is uncompromisingly anthropological, allowing her to offer an enlightening reversal of the Eurocentrism with which the topic has hitherto so often been approached." - Michael Herzfeld, Harvard University.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780415453349
Publisher:
Taylor & Francis
Publication date:
05/14/2013
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.60(d)

Meet the Author

Sharon Macdonald is Anniversary Professor of Cultural Anthropology at the University of York, UK and Visiting Professor in the Institute of European Ethnology, Humboldt University, Berlin. Her authored books include Difficult Heritage (Routledge, 2008) and Reimagining Culture, and, as editor, The Politics of Display (Routledge, 1997) and The Companion to Museum Studies (Choice Outstanding Academic Title, 2007).

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