New publication: “Are We ‘Ensnared in the System of Heritage’ Because We Don’t Want to Escape?”

Jeremy C. Wells. (2017). Are We ‘Ensnared in the System of Heritage’ Because We Don’t Want to Escape? Archaeologies: Journal of the World Archaeological Congress. DOI 10.1007/s11759-017-9316-8

This paper explores why heritage practitioners continue to embrace the objective security of positivism, building on Sharon Veale’s (cited in Sullivan 2015:114) observation that we are ‘”ensnared in the system of heritage, rather than in understanding and unravelling the social processes of its making.” Specifically, built heritage conservation/CRM practice is too standardized and motivated primarily by speed, efficiency, and compliance; the field is not innovative or flexible; and heritage/CRM practitioners and scholars do not engage with each other. The field needs to recognize that the regulatory environment is a fundamental barrier in bridging theory and practice and in integrating tangible and intangible approaches. Lastly, understanding heritage requires a transdisciplinary approach that is altogether absent in most aspects of theory and practice. Possible solutions to these issues will be offered, including the idea of reenvisioning the nature of “heritage conservation.’”

Link to online full text.

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