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UNESCO World Heritage Centre Rep reviews The Heritage-scape

posted Jul 13, 2010, 4:33 AM by Michael Di Giovine   [ updated Jul 13, 2010, 7:33 AM ]

New reviews of The Heritage-scape: UNESCO, World Heritage, and Tourism (Lexington Books, 2009) have just been published in two leading journals in their respective fields.


Dr. Kylie Message, an archaeologist and associate dean in research studies at Australia National University, featured The Heritage-scape in a thoughtful review essay on the “politics of administrative culture” in heritage designations and museography, which appeared in the current issue of Curator: The Museum Journal, one of the museum industry’s most prestigious publications. Stating that “Di Giovine makes a contribution to academic and professional understandings about the role of administrative culture as it relates to the global level of world heritage and tourism,” Message intelligently links The Heritage-scape to Gibson and Pendlebury’s edited volume Valuing Historic Environments (Ashgate, 2009), as well as to Peers’ ethnographic monograph, Playing Ourselves (AltaMira, 2007). In particular, she explores the relationship between the theory of the heritage-scape and Laurajane Smith’s concept of Authorized Heritage Discourse (AHD) that was developed in Smith’s monograph, Uses of Heritage (Routledge, 2006)—which, incidentally, Di Giovine reviewed in a 2008 essay for Curator.


A second review of The Heritage-scape was published in The International Journal of Heritage Studies, one of the most influential journals dealing with issues related to heritage discourses, conservation and management; collective memory; museography; and UNESCO’s World Heritage program. Indeed, the journal requested a representative of UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre to conduct the review. Mechtild Rossler, Chief of Section for Europe and North America at the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, brought a wealth of institutional understanding to the review, and while it was clear that she would have preferred an even greater textual analysis of documents in the Centre’s archives, she recognized the importance of an ethnographic approach that details how meaning is made of UNESCO’s World Heritage designations in the minds of the diverse communities / stakeholders who occupy what Di Giovine calls the “field of heritage production.” Using The Heritage-scape’s interdisciplinary scholarly perspective as an example, she also makes the important call for greater intellectual collaboration among social scientists, practitioners, tourism professionals, and administrators: “The book opens challenging new opportunities to look at heritage and tourism markets. … Michael A. Di Giovine’s refreshing insights into the heritage of humankind could enhance a new form of dialogue between conservation specialists, tour operators and anthropologists and give impetus to debates about different cultures and conservation schools. Such a debate could also be a contribution to intercultural dialogue.”