What Is Heritage

Topics: World Heritage Site, UNESCO, Cultural heritage Pages: 5 (1537 words) Published: February 27, 2013
What is heritage?


My attention in this essay is going to explain what is heritage. There was a survey done in 2010 in Australia, the question was asked to people whom responsible for this survey “what first come to mind when you think ‘heritage’”. The survey was the responses of two thousands of people, and the overwhelming majority of the answers are Old, Buildings and History. As a result, can we say that traditional view still dominate, in most of people’s thoughts, basically “heritage” is not related to ‘new’ which is the representation of the history, and heritages are mainly buildings? In my point of view, heritage could not be simply defined which is of extensive meaning and far-reaching significance.

The definition of heritage from the oxford dictionary is: property that is or may be inherited; an inheritance, valued objects and qualities such as historic buildings and cultural traditions that have been passed down from previous generations, denoting or relating to things of special architectural, historical, or natural value that are preserved for the nation, and denoting a traditional brand or product regarded as emblematic of fine craftsmanship. Thus, we can tell that (according to the Oxford Dictionary) heritageis something that has historic or cultural value, and can be conserved passed from generation to generation.

Since heritage is things that inherited from out ancestors, we are able to have our personal heritage individually. If there are ten people being asked about what is their own heritage, then ten answers might all be different. We might inherit names, objects, properties, money or unique family traditions and so on. There are all could be considered as personal heritage, or the unofficial heritage which being regarded as importance and passed by our previous generations. With the inheritance of personal heritage, we know more about our roots. To speak of the unofficial heritage, it may manifest in the conventional form of buildings or objects that merely have significance to individuals or communities, but are not recognized by the state as heritage through legislative protection.

In addition to unofficial heritage, in a broader sense, official heritage involves the State, and its process describes those aspects of care which are sanctioned by the government, including documenting, listing and managing places as heritage. In The Uses of Heritage, Smith made her statement that “ There is, really, no such thing as heritage… but it needs to be said to highlight the common sense assumption that ‘heritage’ can unproblematically be identified as ‘old’, grand, monumental, and aesthetically pleasing sites, buildings, places and artefacts.” Apart from that, “ There is rather a hegemonic discourse about heritage which acts to constitute the way we think, talk and write about heritage.” According to Smith, the official heritage is a set of cultural symbols indicating national or universal values: the Authorised Heritage Discourse (AHD). The AHD serves to establish what counts as heritage, what its value is, where resources should go, and what cultural identities matter in the context of particular times and places. It developed in Western Europe in the 19th century which mainly focuses on the aesthetically pleasing material heritage that present generations must care for, protect and respect, and be passed to future generations for their ‘education’, and to form a sense of common identity based on the past. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) founded the program of the World Heritage Site with the interest of the international community to preserve each site. In attention to list heritage sites from all over the world, UNESCO has a set of criteria selection which made to be the ‘canon’. To be included on the World Heritage List, sites must be of outstanding universal value and meet at least one out of ten selection criteria. Besides, they...
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