The Heritage-scape: UNESCO, World Heritage and Tourism

O R D E R   N O W

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Overview (from the Publisher)

Tourism today is recognized as the largest and fastest-growing industry in the world, capable of producing positive social and economic transformations, especially in developing countries. Yet for UNESCO, it works in conjunction with World Heritage sites for a far more ambitious

goal: to produce "peace in the minds of men" by creating a new, global identity.


Anthropologist and former tour operator Michael Di Giovine draws on ethnographic fieldwork, close policy analysis and professional experiences in Southeast Asia and Europe to provide a detailed examination of UNESCO's unusual effort to harness globalization and cultural diversity for the purpose of creating peace. He convincingly argues that UNESCO's designations are not impotent political performances that lead to the commercialization of local monuments, but instead are the building blocks of a new social system he calls the “heritage-scape” – an imaginative re-ordering of the world that knows no geopolitical boundaries but exists in the individual "minds of men."


Written for social scientists, heritage and tourism professionals, and the educated traveler, The Heritage-scape is an insightful, detailed, and expansive look at UNESCO's World Heritage Program in Vietnam, Cambodia, and across the world.


The Heritage-scape: UNESCO, World Heritage, and Tourism
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Pub. Date: January 2009
  • ISBN-13: 9780739114346 (Hardcover)
  • ISBN-13: 9780739114353 (Paperback)


    Nelson Graburn, University of California, Berkeley & London Metropolitan University:

    “This is the most thorough and sophisticated examination of the UNESCO heritage system to date. The author, a former tour operator and current anthropologist, examines the cultural construction of this system from a number of points of view. Using the anthropological works of Appadurai, Bruner, Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, Leite, Mazzarella and others, as well as the works of historians of art, museums and gardens, geographers of place-making, sociologists of authenticity, practice and memory, cultural theorists of cyberspace and educational theory, he carefully examines the origins, growth, applications, and multivocalic reactions to the World Heritage making process. Although he examines events and monuments of Southeast Asia, especially Cambodia, and in Italy, especially Tuscany, in ethnographic detail, his knowledge of the heritage-making process is encyclopedic and critical. This is a book to be enjoyed for its timeliness, its revealing anecdotes, and its attention to contemporary social theory.” 



    Mike Robinson, Director, Centre for Tourism and Cultural Change, Leeds Metropolitan University: 

    “Debates continue to rage about the economic, political, and socio-cultural significance attached to, and conferred by, the UNESCO designation of "World Heritage." What Michael Di Giovine achieves in this important book, through detailed research and critical theoretical reflection, is grounding these debates in a comprehensive and compelling examination of the motivations, processes, networks, and people which not only shape the meanings of the past but which also project into the future. He carefully reveals that the World Heritage program of UNESCO, and the tourism associated with this, extend well beyond notions of privileged material preservation and can be seen to encourage a universal discourse which connects and unites people, places, and pasts and which can catalyze possibilities for meaningful exchange, experience, and peace. This is clearly an essential book for all interested in the relationships and meanings which lie behind, and are generated by, the notion of World Heritage.”

    James Fernandez, Professor of Anthropology and of Social Sciences, University of Chicago:

    The Heritage-scape: UNESCO, World Heritage and Tourism is a valuable compendium and very useful for those like ourselves who have worked near or in relation to World Heritage Sites. ... The book is worth bringing to people's attention.


    The International Journal of Heritage Studies

    Mechtild Rossler, Chief of Section (Europe), UNESCO World Heritage Centre

    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. [See full review]


    Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change

    Veronica Davidov, Department of Anthropology, Maastricht University

    Original and innovative ... [and containing] rich ethnographic detail ... The Heritage-scape is an important contribution to the discussion on the production of narratives and material culture of “modernity”—defined through a normative experience of the past and a strategic structuring of that experience. [See full review]


    Journal of Anthropological Research

    Hazel Tucker, Department of Tourism, University of Otago

    This is an important book. Di Giovine undoubtedly succeeds in this attempt to analyze UNESCO’s World Heritage program, always moving effortlessly between detailed case-study illustrations of World Heritage‑related processes at specific sites, explanation of the workings and declarations of UNESCO, and more generalized discussion of the processes and implications of this inherently globalizing endeavor. Indeed, this is an anthropological study of globalization par excellence. It is therefore an essential book for a broad readership, including academics, researchers and students in the fields of anthropology of globalization, tourism studies, cultural studies and heritage, as well as practitioners in the area of heritage tourism. Di Giovine is to be applauded for this timely and comprehensive examination of the contemporary World Heritage system.


    Curator: The Museum Journal

    Kylie Message, Associate Dean in Research Studies, Australia National University

    Contesting the limited image of cultural diversity that is associated with the resurgent nationalism and homogenizing globalization symptomatic of the contemporary (post 9/11) era, 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. [See full review]


    Conservation South Asia

    Neel Kamal Chapagain, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

    The multi-sited ethnographic accounts of world heritage sites in Southeast Asia are well-weaved with a discussion of how various players ... interact in a complex network. For a practitioner and stakeholder of a heritage site, ... the book altogether offers alternative ways of understanding the preservation/conservation practice in various aspects. ... [The Heritage-scape] dissect[s] the subjects and objects of heritage conservation at difference scales, and thus enriches our understanding of the profession and how it is embedded in a global network of institutions, economic forces, and stakeholders' interests. [See full review]

    Ambiente, Societa', Territorio

    Stefania Cerruti, Universita' del Piemonte Orientale

    Written for social scientists and tourism and heritage management professionals, [Di Giovine's] volume certainly offers a significant contribution to the debate surrounding the relationships and meanings of "world heritage," as well as to our understanding of the processes of managing, evaluating, and promoting the sites that make up the "UNESCO system," that reconfigure the testimony made by the past into indispensable resources for imagining and constructing a peaceful, future world order."

    Cultural Geographies

    Josep-Maria Garcia Fuentes, Architectural Composition, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya

    The Heritage-scape is the most penetrating analysis of World Heritage to date and a thoughtful critical contribution to the grounding of heritage debates. … The examples are well selected and analysed in depth to examine the heritage-making process from almost all points of view. This gives rise to a deep text that is clear, comprehensive and full of suggestive ideas. It is incisive in its critical examinations, and offers various rich levels of readings that will surely encourage new approaches and studies of heritage in the broadest sense. It is definitely an essential book for anyone involved in heritage studies and/or cultural geography.


    Journal of Heritage Tourism

    Chin-Ee Ong, Institute for Tourism Studies, Macao

    This book is a substantial monograph concerned with the interface between heritage and tourism. ... An innovative ethnography, ... Di Giovine's work is successful in bringing to the fore the contingent, negotiated, and at times marginalising nature of World Heritage and mass tourism that happens in World Heritage sites in Southeast Asia. Of significance is his observation of the work of UNESCO beyond a designatory or list‑making regime, and as a global ordering and placemaking process aimed at creating a peaceful transnational utopia. ... All in all, this is an exciting contribution to the field of heritage and tourism studies. [See full review]


    Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology (EGA)

    Helaine Silverman, University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana

    Across a range of disciplines, we are now awash in scapes. . . . Michael Di Giovine (2009) analyzes the heritage-scape that UNESCO has created, deploying the term in hyphenated form with the full weight of Appadurai’s disentanglement of globalization. He asserts, correctly, that UNESCO is engaged in an “ambitious placemaking strategy designed to rearrange the geopolitical landscape into a reconceptualization of the world. . . the heritage-scape is a real social structure which creates real material effects on a globally distributed population in accordance with UNESCO’s long-term goals” (2009: 6). This apprehension becomes a new point of departure in Cultural heritage studies.

    Table of Contents

    • Introduction: Traveling Across Stones that Speak
    • Chapter 1. Mediating World Heritage: Authenticity and Fields of Production in World Heritage
    • Chapter 2. The Heritage-scape: UNESCO's Globalizing Endeavor
    • Chapter 3. "Unity in Diversity": The Heritage-scape's Meta-Narrative Claim
    • Chapter 4. Tourism: The Heritage-scape's Ritual Interaction
    • Chapter 5. Converting Local Places into Universal Heritage
    • Chapter 6. Politics and Personalities within the Heritage-scape: Narratives of Nature and Culture in Viet Nam
    • Chapter 7. Mummification of Local Cultures: The Cases of Ha Long and Hoi An
    • Chapter 8. Creating the Drama of the Destination: Managing, Interpreting, and Branding World Heritage Sites
    • Chapter 9. Preserving the Past: Value and the Emotional Efficacy of World Heritage Sites
    • Chapter 10. The Problematics of Preservation: Narrative and Practice in Angkor Archaeological Park
    • Chapter 11. Raising Awareness, Re-Presenting the Heritage-scape: Fragmentary and Reproducible Re-Presentations
    • Conclusion: The Future of the Heritage-scape