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Heritage as an Economic Instrument


Sonia Catrina, Ph.D.

The Institute of Sociology in Bucharest at the Romanian Academy


Patterns of individuals’ heritage equation in Romania: private micromuseum, museographer-« peasant » and tourism strategy

This paper examines the constructions of memory in a context of tourism development. This process will be analyzed through the study of the approaches initiated by the guesthouse owners that have developed tourism enterprises in rural area of Maramures (region situated in Northern Romania).

The originality of this paper consists in its ability to analyze the points of convergence between the value of the tangible heritage and practices of territorial development in the context of “glocalization” (Schuerkens, 2003). The roots of the “citizen’s memory” (Pierre Nora, 1997: 2209) localized in personals micro-museums, encourages us to formulate some questions: How the hosts realize the heritage valorization? How they construct the discourse on heritage: on a temporal or spatial axis? What are the objects designated like heritage? What “regime of historicity” (François Hartog, 2003) designate the classes of objects and memory retained? Would be certain categories of living more easily valued as heritage elements, “elements able to be heritagizated” somehow (Bérard, Marchenay, 1998), since these projects of personal identity become the emblems of the space where they take place? In this context appears implicitly the question of tourists. The relationship from oneself to the other induced by tourism practices encourages us to consider the economic mobilization of heritage items at the sight of the tourists. The presence of tourists in the region in question allow us to assume that the elements transformed into emblems, heritage, and symbolically overinvested by the hosts are the expression of a relationship induced by the tourism practices. In this sense, we assume that the heritage of the private sphere corresponds to some representations constructed in exchange and meeting with the tourist. How does this relationship fit into the heritage projects of territorial development and reflect an identity construction?


Meritxell Sucarrat Viola

University of Barcelone



Heritage, Culture and Social Differentiation: the Making of Historical Subjects in the Catalan Pyrenees, Spain

The aim of this paper is to provide ethnographic data about the social and economic consequences of nature and culture heritagisation in a Catalan Pyrenean valley, Spain. In particular, what is intended is to analyse how the transformation of the economic model affects the socio-cultural reproduction specially the social classification system.

The approval of the state Law of Mountains in the late 1950’s, as a result of the seizure and sale of the commons in the nineteenth century, led to the drafting of municipal ordinances regulating the exploitation of the communal land by local commoners. This involved drawing up a detailed definition of the conditions that had to meet an individual to be considered a commoner, among which the permanent residence in the family house was a prerequisite. The intention was to ease the living conditions of those who did not emigrate in period when large areas of the Pyrenees were depopulated due to the crisis of the traditional mountain farming and cattle raising.

In the first decade of the twentieth century, the implementation of economic policies that transform the uses and values ​​of the territory in order to promote the tertiary sector has profoundly affected the traditional differentiation of individuals into two main social groups, namely, commoners and “outsiders”. The “outsider’s families” live permanently in the valley, work as employees in tourism and the service sector, and have no access to the traditional economic resources. The local economic change has altered not only the traditional social order but also the sociability and the daily life. In this context, various questions arise, namely: How are culture and nature mobilized by different individuals to legitimize the making of themselves and others in the local context? And what is the relationship between the local construction of social categories and global phenomena?


Laura Puromies, PhD student

University of Turku, Degree Program in Cultural Production and Landscape Studies, landscpape studies



Buy yourself a beautiful past

I have chosen two examples for my study. Sauna and Kalevala Koru, a highly valued jewelry brand that has many ornament´s and models based on archeological findings. I have chosen these examples as both are historically valuable and they are considered as national symbols and symbols of past and ancient identity. They also have a strong sense of the body. When we go to the Sauna, it gives us an experience of our body created by several senses. When we wear jewelry, it makes us sense our body more strongly with conscious choices that we make. Body can be a meeting place for past, present and future.

As I shall focus in experiences and senses (in my dissertation) it is logical that my perspective will be very esthetical. Esthetical experiences convey emotional messages.

Both advertising and argumentation of cultural heritage mostly appeal to positive senses. However, could advertising for products that are based on cultural heritage, make more out of senses? My postulation is that it could. As an example, humor is hardly ever used in official presentations of cultural heritage, but it can be found in advertisements of cultural heritage products.

When will an object become a beautiful piece of cultural heritage? What are the senses that are stimulated when an object, which is part of cultural heritage is used in an advertisement? How old is its beauty? Is it beautiful because it is old? Was it beautiful also in its original era? If the object has a status of cultural heritage, can that change its esthetic values?

When I study advertising, analyze how cultural heritage is officially presented and peruse oral historical documentations of Sauna and Kalevala Koru jewelry, comparing the three sources, I can find interesting features of esthetic valuation. Who sets the values? Could ugliness be for sale as cultural heritage?

Advertising appeals mostly to positive emotions. More specifically, advertising values of cultural heritage mostly appeals to positive esthetical emotions, not to practical or pedagogical values, for example. The past that is for sale is also mostly beautiful.

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