By Lisa C. Breglia
From historic Maya towns in Mexico and principal the US to the Taj Mahal in India, cultural historical past websites around the globe are being drawn into the wave of privatization that has already swept via such financial sectors as telecommunications, transportation, and utilities. As realms come to a decision they could now not come up with the money for to take care of cultural houses - or locate it economically constructive to not achieve this within the globalizing economic climate - inner most actors are stepping in to excavate, preserve, interpret, and symbolize archaeological and historic websites. yet what are the ramifications while a multinational company, or perhaps an indigenous village, owns a section of nationwide patrimony which holds cultural and maybe sacred which means for the entire country's humans, in addition to for viewers from the remainder of the world?In this bold ebook, Lisa Breglia investigates 'heritage' as an enviornment during which quite a few inner most and public actors compete for the suitable to learn, economically and another way, from controlling cultural patrimony. She provides ethnographic case reports of 2 archaeological websites within the Yucatan Peninsula - Chichen Itza and Chunchucmil and their surrounding glossy groups - to illustrate how indigenous landholders, overseas archaeologists, and the Mexican nation use history houses to place themselves as valid 'heirs' and beneficiaries of Mexican nationwide patrimony.Breglia's learn masterfully describes the 'monumental ambivalence' that effects whilst neighborhood citizens, excavation workers, website managers, and kingdom corporations all enact their claims to cultural patrimony. Her findings make it transparent that casual and partial privatizations - which pass on quietly and regularly - are as genuine a danger to a nation's historical past because the prospect of fast-food eating places and buying facilities within the ruins of a sacred web site.
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Additional resources for Monumental Ambivalence: The Politics of Heritage
Do all of the men make milpa (corn plots)? I started to wonder if there was a copy of Redﬁeld’s Folk Culture of Yucatán (1941) ﬂoating around town. Questions about Pisté and Chichén Itzá ensued from the other side of Yucatán as well. The impression of Pisté as a more developed, sophisticated, and even cosmopolitan pueblo stressed the differences between the two places yet produced nearly identical assumptions: “In Pisté, they must speak very good Maya,” supposing that the larger town must have better educational opportunities.
As the cases I present clearly demonstrate, the conjunction of spatial practices speciﬁc to the political economy of a given site— Chichén Itzá or Chunchucmil—and heritage legislation do not meet in a clean intersection. Rather, their coincidence is disjunctive, producing a space of ambivalence between law and territory. Legal frameworks and institutions governing heritage properties in Mexico are inseparable from issues of property ownership, land tenure policies, and jurisdiction—all spatial practices.
First, if I am claiming to offer this study as a new approach to understanding the politics of heritage, what are the theoretical and methodological machinations inspiring this endeavor? I have offered a series of concepts and ideas for the study of heritage sites and practices. Some of these, most notably the distinction between heritageas-artifact and heritage-as-practice, arise as critical responses to the ways in which others have undertaken in the cross-disciplinary ﬁeld of heritage studies.