Monumental Ambivalence The Politics of Heritage

ISBN-10: 0292714807
ISBN-13: 9780292714809
Edition: 2006
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Description: From ancient Maya cities in Mexico and Central America to the Taj Mahal in India, cultural heritage sites around the world are being drawn into the wave of privatization that has already swept through such economic sectors as telecommunications,  More...

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Book details

List price: $25.00
Copyright year: 2006
Publisher: University of Texas Press
Publication date: 11/1/2006
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 256
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.836
Language: English

From ancient Maya cities in Mexico and Central America to the Taj Mahal in India, cultural heritage sites around the world are being drawn into the wave of privatization that has already swept through such economic sectors as telecommunications, transportation, and utilities. As nation-states decide they can no longer afford to maintain cultural propertiesor find it economically advantageous not to do so in the globalizing economyprivate actors are stepping in to excavate, conserve, interpret, and represent archaeological and historical sites. But what are the ramifications when a multinational corporation, or even an indigenous village, owns a piece of national patrimony which holds cultural and perhaps sacred meaning for all the country's people, as well as for visitors from the rest of the world? In this ambitious book, Lisa Breglia investigates "heritage" as an arena in which a variety of private and public actors compete for the right to benefit, economically and otherwise, from controlling cultural patrimony. She presents ethnographic case studies of two archaeological sites in the Yucataacute;n PeninsulaChicheacute;n Itzaacute; and Chunchucmil and their surrounding modern communitiesto demonstrate how indigenous landholders, foreign archaeologists, and the Mexican state use heritage properties to position themselves as legitimate "heirs" and beneficiaries of Mexican national patrimony. Breglia's research masterfully describes the "monumental ambivalence" that results when local residents, excavation laborers, site managers, and state agencies all enact their claims to cultural patrimony. Her findings make it clear that informal and partial privatizationswhich go on quietly and continuallyare as real a threat to a nation's heritage as the prospect of fast-food restaurants and shopping centers in the ruins of a sacred site.

LISA BREGLIA is Director of the Global Affairs and Global Interdisciplinary Programs at George Mason University. With specializations in cultural anthropology and Latin American studies, she has conducted more than fifteen years of fieldwork in Mexico. Her previous book, Monumental Ambivalence: The Politics of Heritage, was a finalist for the National Council on Public History Book Award.

List of Abbreviations
Acknowledgments
The Ambivalence of Heritage
A New Approach to Heritage
Cartographies of Patrimony
""Maya Archaeology as the Mayas See It""
ChichTn Itz_: A Century of Privatization
By Blood or by Sweat: Shaping Rights to World Heritage
Chunchucmil: Ambivalence in a Heritage Landscape
Archaeology, Ejidos, and Space-Claiming Techniques
Conclusion
Docile Descendants and Illegitimate

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