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« The Invisibles and Heritage.
What Heritage? Who for? »

Deadline for sending propositions: 8 March 2024

Scientific coordination

Marie-Sophie de Clippele, Law Professor at UCLouvain Saint-Louis – Brussels, with a Chair in Law of Nature and Cultural Rights at the Centre d’Étude en droit de l’Environnement (CEDRE)

Lily Martinet, Officer in charge of intangible cultural heritage, in the Department of Research, Promotion, and Intangible Cultural Heritage at the French Ministry of Culture; Co-Editor-in-Chief of the journal In Situ. Au regard des sciences sociales

Call for contributions

  • 1 See, in particular, the call for contributions ‘Les Visiteurs du Patrimoine – Heritage Visitors’ fo (...)
  • 2 “Manifesto of the Association of critical heritage studies” (2012), available at https://www.critic (...)
  • 3 An example: the group of feminist artists Guerilla Girls and the reintroduction of the notion of ‘m (...)
  • 4 See, in particular, the Recommendation on Participation by the People at Large in Cultural Life and (...)
  • 5 See « Étude relative au bénévolat et à la participation de la société civile aux politiques des pat (...)

Heritage is a reflection of the end result of consensual processes about what deserves to be recognised as heritage and passed on to future generations. It embodies the social and cultural values that a society expresses, organises and puts in hierarchical order at a given time. It forms a mirror in which that society contemplates itself and the image it wishes to project to the world. But, at the same time, it leaves aside certain memories,1 cultural expressions and narratives. The way a society evolves can consequently call into question the choices of heritage it has made in the past and the contemporary role of that heritage. From this point of view, the progressive affirmation of social groups excluded from systems of heritage designation, protection and management – groups we have labelled in this call for contributions invisibles, – give food for some basic thought about the political, social and civic functions of heritage.2 The exclusion from which these groups suffer, caused notably by historic injustices and structural inequalities, engender protest and new demands.3 The image often put forward today of a more inclusive heritage, inspired by international4 and national political initiatives5 becomes far more complex as finer analyses are developed on actors and collective groups less visible than others.

The present call for contributions hopes to draw attention to these ‘invisible’ heritage groups and actors.

What place is there for these groups in the fields of heritage activities and expectations? How are they involved (or not) in the usual heritage processes and taken into account by different operators such as experts, cultural institutions and public authorities. What is the significance of the desire for ‘visibilisation’ on the part of these groups, and who demands it? What solutions have already been put forward by heritage actors? What effects might such visibilisation initiatives have on heritage policies and on society as a whole? What are the risks involved (essentialism, institutionalisation)?

Orientations and problematics envisaged

Heritage and inclusion

The first orientation is concerned with the means, which, in terms of public policies, could or should be mobilised in order to bring greater recognition to ‘invisibles’. How is the principle of inclusiveness integrated into heritage procedures and into the question of access to heritage? How can the dynamics, which construct, publicise, promote and interpret heritage act positively to include a social group? Such questions can challenge sociological thinking on the practices of heritage recognition and raise interrogations of a political nature about the public actions to be developed – and even legal ones – when it comes to the issue of the fundamental rights of everybody to cultural heritage.

  • 6 Faro convention on the value of cultural heritage for society (2005).

Does the multiplication of the categories of heritage result in greater inclusiveness? Does the evolution of normative frameworks6 allow for a better consideration of different social groups?

Heritage and representativity

  • 7 See, for example, UNESCO’s global strategy for a representative, balanced and credible world herita (...)

The second orientation is concerned with the means necessary to achieve a balance that avoids the over-representation of certain types of heritage.7 When measures are taken in order to focus attention on particular social groups (capacity-building, thematic exhibitions, enquiries and collecting practices) are they effective or merely symbolic? What are the conditions for the success and symbolic efficiency of such measures? How can some sort of harmony be achieved within a polyphony of dissonant stories or even irreconcilable ones? Does opening up to a diversity of subjectivities result in fragmentation or in a more properly representative image of contemporary society? These questions raise issues of historic and philosophical import but also socio-anthropological ones associated with the issues of representativity in diversity.

The field of enquiry is open, then, to all the social sciences and humanities, and our call for contributions hopes to be of world-wide scope and to concern all sorts of heritage – tangible, intangible, natural, sensorial, etc. The call is addressed to researchers, practicians and heritage professionals.

Proposed contributions

The articles submitted should contain some original research, hypotheses or updated information; and should not include a copy of a previously published text.

The proposed contributions will be examined in accordance with the journal’s assessment policy. If you wish to contribute to this issue, please send an abstract of your proposed article (1,500 characters or 375 words maximum) together with a short résumé before 8 March 2024.

- by email:

insitu.arss@culture.gouv.fr

- or by post:

Ministère de la Culture

Direction Générale des Patrimoines et de l’Architecture

Revue In Situ. Au regard des sciences sociales

For the attention of Nathalie Meyer

182, rue Saint-Honoré

75001 Paris

France

The texts of the articles of the successfully proposed contributions must be submitted by 15 September 2024. You can write your contribution in French or in your native language, in which case it will be published in its original version with a French translation. The length of the articles is between 15,000 and 35,000 characters including spaces, notes, and bibliography (3,750 to 8,750 words).

Guidelines for authors, containing information in French about the number of pages, the illustrations, the insertion of notes and links, etc. are available on the journal’s website:

https://journals.openedition.org/insituarss/276

Notes

1 See, in particular, the call for contributions ‘Les Visiteurs du Patrimoine – Heritage Visitors’ for the issue number 5 of this present review In Situ. Au regard des sciences sociales.

2 “Manifesto of the Association of critical heritage studies” (2012), available at https://www.criticalheritagestudies.org/history [link valid in December 2023].

3 An example: the group of feminist artists Guerilla Girls and the reintroduction of the notion of ‘matrimoine’ (women’s heritage) (HERTZ Ellen, « Le matrimoine », in Marc-Olivier GONSETH, Jacques HAINARD & Roland KAEHR (ed.), Le Musée cannibale, Neuchâtel, Musée d’Ethnographie, 2002, p. 153-168).

4 See, in particular, the Recommendation on Participation by the People at Large in Cultural Life and their Contribution to it (1976), the Convention for the safeguarding of the intangible cultural heritage (2003), the Convention on the value of the cultural heritage for society (2005) and the 2022 report “Participation in Global Cultural Heritage Governance” by the International Law Association.

5 See « Étude relative au bénévolat et à la participation de la société civile aux politiques des patrimoines », a report on voluntary heritage associations and the participation of civil society in heritage policies delivered to the French Minister of Culture in June 2022 https://www.culture.gouv.fr/Espace-documentation/Rapports/Etude-relative-au-benevolat-et-a-la-participation-de-la-societe-civile-aux-politiques-des-patrimoines [link valid December 2023].

6 Faro convention on the value of cultural heritage for society (2005).

7 See, for example, UNESCO’s global strategy for a representative, balanced and credible world heritage list, https://whc.unesco.org/fr/strategieglobale/ [link valid in December 2023].

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