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Written by the author of The Heritage-scape: UNESCO, World Heritage and Tourism (Lexington 2009), this article is a critical reflection of the heritage-scape concept nearly a decade after it was introduced in the literature. Including personal background stories that paint a picture of the intellectual origins and inspirations for the term, the article discusses the theory behind the heritage-scape, the concept’s contribution to the literature, and its reception by tourism and heritage theorists. As a theoretical buzzword meant to describe a particular, utopian model of the geopolitical order, it has nevertheless taken on a life of its own, and the article addresses some of the misconceptions, as well as clarifications made by the author, during the course of the last decade. Articulating a more holistic model of a World Heritage Program, the author also presents future areas of research — including more scholarship on the interrelatedness of tourism and heritage, and better integration of sustainability and ethics. The article concludes with a note of encouragement for junior scholars, who like the author a decade ago, felt they have something notable to communicate to the academic world.

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  • 1 However, it was given a 2009 copyright, which is how I am citing it here.

1When my first book, The Heritage-scape: UNESCO, World Heritage, and Tourism, was published in late 20081, it was among the first monographs to comprehensively examine UNESCO’s World Heritage program and how it engages with tourism. Mixing anthropological theories of ritual, globalization, and placemaking with ethnographic case studies from all six World Heritage sites in Vietnam and Cambodia at the time (a few more have been added in the last decade, including the contested Preah Vihear on the Thai-Cambodian border, which I scrambled to integrate into the book as it was going to press), it represented the culmination of eight years of professional work in the heritage and tourism industries, academic studies, and both ethnographic and archival research. Among others, the book introduced the concept of the heritage-scape, which I defined as a worldwide, imagined community that aims to produce “peace in the minds of men” (UNESCO 1945) through the ritual appropriation and juxtaposition of disparate heritage sites around the world that are designated to be of “universal value” for the ways in which they reveal UNESCO’s meta-narrative of “unity in diversity” (Di Giovine 2009, p 6, pp 41-42, pp 399-400). Building on Arjun Appadurai’s (1996) notion of a – scape, and informed by my travels through disparate lands with different tourists to similarly designated sites, I saw the heritage-scape as “not simply a mosaic of aggregate individual sites, a network of specially-delineated destinations with their own local social relations, but rather… [as]a unique place with its own social context that is constantly evolving and expanding as UNESCO continues its activities, integrating increasingly more places, objects, and now even intangible customs within its nebulous boundaries” (Di Giovine, 2009, pp 41-42). In my work in the travel industry, I had noticed that there was something interconnected and fluid about these seemingly disparate sites and the meanings that tourists were making of them. I offered the heritage-scape as a model for understanding UNESCO’s successful program and its long-term goals from a mixed etic-emic perspective.

I. Origins and theoretical Interventions

A. Work in the heritage tourism industry

2Upon graduating Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in 2000, I knew that I wanted to go to graduate school rather than into the U.S. diplomatic corps. But I did not know what PhD to pursue. I only knew I wanted to travel. Through a bit of serendipity, I was hired by International Seminar Design, Inc., an educational tour operator in Washington, DC that planned, developed, marketed and implemented cultural tours for university alumni organizations, museum members, docents, art collectors, and other non-profit groups. Given my history of family travel in Italy during the summers of my youth, I was originally hired to work on ISDI’s many Italian tours — which I did — but by my second week I was on a plane to Japan, on what the tourism industry calls a “FAM” (familiarization trip for travel agents) paid for by the Kyoto City Government. After leading an alumni tour to Japan in 2001, I traveled to Vietnam independently with friends. I remember coming back to the office after that trip transformed, impressed not only by the beauty and vibrancy of the place, but also by the notable energy surrounding the government’s heritage tourism development push. I began to develop tours to Southeast Asia; we were one of the earliest high-end tour operators in the United States to work in the region. From 2001-2004, I witnessed the opening up of new destinations in Vietnam and Cambodia, especially associated with World Heritage sites, and their growth at the hands of tourism. I remember when the first traffic light was installed in Siem Reap, the tourist town outside of Cambodia’s Angkor Archaeological Park; it became necessary as more and more tourists flocked to the World Heritage site. Every year, it seemed, the government and individual tour guides would count down to the next benchmark tourist arrival at Angkor, without any reflexive discussion of mass tourism’s impacts: one million…1.5 million ... 2 million … 3 million. They explicitly attributed the increase in tourists to the “outstanding universal value” of their heritage site, which they interpreted as being finally “recognized” by UNESCO (rather than created through UNESCO’s own process).

3But while locals and guides would proudly talk about UNESCO and World Heritage, my travelers largely did not know what UNESCO or its program was, and often asked me about it. That these were upper-class, highly educated and well-traveled Americans only made me more curious; while locals, tourists, managers, and practitioners were equally touched by UNESCO’s project, knowledge and impacts thus seemed to be unequally distributed. So I decided to return to school to study this phenomenon, beginning with an AM in the interdisciplinary social sciences at the University of Chicago, followed by a Ph.D. in anthropology at the same institution. While reading the heritage and tourism literature early on in graduate school, I realized, first, that two themes were not as integrated as they should be; and second that the foundational books in the anthropology of tourism were largely critiques from scholars operating on the “outside” of the industry. For example, on my initial reading of Dean MacCannell’s classic, The Tourist (1976), and Dennison Nash’s article “Tourism as a Form of Imperialism” (1977), I was taken aback by what I interpreted at the time to be a denunciation of the tourism industry’s production of inauthentic experiences for profit. Certainly in my “insider’s “role as a tour operator there was nothing nefarious about what I was doing; I strived for authenticity and wanted to enjoy the experience as much as my passengers. (In retrospect, local guides and land operators would sometimes put me in the same category as my tourists, clearly “staging authenticity” for the both of us, but even still I think most were aiming to present local experiences that they believed tourists would comprehend and appreciate, over historically authentic practices — something Ed Bruner points out in an interview (Di Giovine, in press). In short, my colleagues and I also were consuming the tourism imaginaries (Salazar and Graburn, 2014) offered forth by UNESCO.

4The resulting Masters’ thesis, and its greatly expanded incarnation, The Heritage-scape, aimed to examine UNESCO’s heritage-making process from the perspective of, and in a way that could speak to, the tourists who encountered it. I drew on the detailed journals I took on tour, coupled with more site visits from 2004-2008 and a vast amount of archival research into public documents, news articles, and websites produced by and for UNESCO, to understand how tourism and heritage were implicated in UNESCO’s overarching mission to foster “peace in the minds of men”. It was not intended to be an ethnography of the negotiations that occurred in backrooms of the World Heritage Centre (see for example: Smith and Akegawa, 2009), but rather a more theoretical model for what UNESCO wanted to achieve.

5I argued that while each site was different, UNESCO’s process would strip them of their meanings and re-contextualize them into a rather utopian meta-narrative claim of “unity in diversity.” Employing ritual and performance theory, I showed that individual sites would undergo a ritual transformation into “world heritage” based on a process of evaluating how their unique attributes fit into a standardized, yet rather nebulous, set of criteria, and how they ultimately gained meaning through their juxtaposition with each other on the list and in the minds of tourists who would visit multiple sites, sometimes on the same trip. Tourism, it seemed to me, was the glue between these sites, ordering them into a system, building and transferring meaning across nodes in the heritage-scape. I wrote: “As I conceptualize the heritage-scape, UNESCO’s World Heritage Program is geared predominantly to oft-mobile tourists—temporary situated “outsiders” who can bring their own unique understandings of “culture” and “cultural diversity” to the site, experience a transformative encounter, and return to their home like secular missionaries, spreading their newfound knowledge of the site in relation to cultural diversity” (Di Giovine, 2009, p6).

B. Theoretical basis of the heritage-scape

6But what is the purpose of this process? Although the sites in Southeast Asia might have needed the increase in publicity that a UNESCO designation clearly bestows, certainly the destinations I visited in Italy did not, yet both are equally valued as World Heritage. In analyzing the objectives of UNESCO and the stated values of world heritage, it became clear that the program’s long-term intent was to take the popular appeal of these sites — which often served to divide people into those who can trace heritage claims to them and those who cannot — and recontextualize them into a meta-narrative of “unity in diversity” that celebrates the universality of differences that mark human life; we are unified as humans precisely because of our vibrant variety. The heritage-scape, then, was ultimately a global placemaking endeavor that emotionally appealed to the sensibilities of those who came into contact with them. The more they would encounter these sites valued for this ideological claim, the more they would assume a sense of collective ownership of them that transcends oft-divisive geopolitical boundaries. “If a heritage object temporally connects individuals with the socio-spatial milieu from which they came, UNESCO’s World Heritage objects are intended to transcend the temporal and spatial situatedness of one culture’s heritage claims, ensuring that everyone equally possesses each World Heritage site; rather than basing identities on collective antagonism toward difference, tourists consuming the World Heritage narrative can celebrate and internalize diversity” (Di Giovine, 2010, p9). This imagined, socio-spatial milieu is the heritage-scape.

7My definition of the heritage-scape was grounded in anthropological theories of globalization and placemaking, particularly Arjun Appadurai’s model of a –scape: “a complex, overlapping, disjunctive order that can no longer be understood in terms of existing center-periphery models” (1996, p 32). He posits five types of – scapes which overlap and exist simultaneously (pp 33-35). Although critics of Appadurai’s neologisms argue that they are too theoretically imprecise, the -scape paradigm is quite compelling for those who agree with Benedict Anderson’s classic notion of an “imagined community” (1998) and Roland Robertson’s idea of globalization as imagined and centered on individual agency above that of nation-states (1995). Appadurai’s-scape refers to a social space wherein power structures are markedly de-localized. In such a place, there is no one capital, no one focus or bounded central area from which those inside can dictate policy to the rest of the public, or can define themselves in opposition to those outside (Di Giovine, 2009, pp93-94). Evoking notions of expansiveness, idealization and morphism, the suffix –scape conveys this sense of a deterritorialized, or, at the least, a loosely demarcated, area where notions of “insiders” and “outsiders” are blurred (p95).

8The notion of a –scape has been used, and sometimes abused, by many inside and outside of the heritage industry who wish to convey a sense of magnitude, endless expansion, or even timelessness to their site. In the academic literature, Mary-Catherine Garden had employed the term “heritagescape” to reference “landscapes of heritage” (2004, p1), heritage sites that are understood to exist within wider physical and social expanses. This neologism thus is both a descriptor and a methodology for parsing the living processes that circulate at these historic places: "In thinking of heritage sites as heritagescapes—i.e. as landscapes—it draws attention to their qualities as dynamic, changing spaces. It also offers the opportunity to locate sites in the context of their larger environment and draws attention to the importance of the setting. …Accepting the heritage site as a landscape locates these places in their rightful place as a fluid, changing space with which people regularly interact" (Garden, 2006, p407).

9Although Garden’s model largely conflates the heritage site and landscape — “heritagescapes are landscapes; they are about the visible, physical place and also about the experiences that people have with that place,” she writes (2004, pp208-209) —s he does so to “initiate a dialogue on what it is meant by the term ‘heritage site’” (2006, p395). The point is well-made: a heritage site, whether it is a vast cultural landscape or a solitary monument, is a cultural construct; it has a life history that extends through time; its significance is always variable; and it is always under the pressures of change. Garden’s concept, in fact, seems to resemble UNESCO’s notion of a cultural landscape, “the combined works of nature and of man” (UNESCO, 1972), which lies “at the interface between nature and culture, tangible and intangible heritage, biological and cultural diversity—they represent a closely woven net of relationships, the essence of culture and people’s identity” (Rössler, 2006, p334).

10Taking an Eastern perspective (by way of Carl Jung), geographer Rana Singh also had employed the notion of a heritage-scape, arguing that the term most frequently used in India to denote heritage, dharohara, “should be better translated as ‘heritagescapes’ and to be explained in the purview of ‘heritage ecology’ in corroboration with ‘deep [and spiritual] geography’” (Singh 1995, p197): The conjunction of dharā (“mother Earth” to use an easily accessible idiom), with the suffix, -ihara, “endeavor of identity throughout time” (Singh, Rana, 2011, pp 88-89; Singh, 2011, p8) paints a linguistic picture of an expansive concurrence of being-and-becoming, spatially and temporally conceived. Dharohara, then, conveys the sense that a site is in perpetual liminality; conjoining worlds or states of being, it is thus an axis mundi where time and space conflate for visitors who interact with it. Rather than being translated as “heritage” or “patrimony,” which is often erroneously conceived of as a stagnant and unchangeable thing, fixed in a point in time, dharohara literally conveys the reality of heritage as ever-changing (Di Giovine, 2011, pp67-68).

11The contributions of Singh and Garden emphasize the dynamic, fluid, and socially mediated aspects of a heritage site — or any place for that matter — through the idiom of a -scape. This is significant, for I found that certain groups (particularly practitioners, promotional organizations, tour guides and some academics in professional or interdisciplinary areas) may frequently talk of heritage as a monolithic and unchangeable thing, so as to stake claim to a particular group’s ideological narrative. But heritage is really an interpretative endeavor to create a site’s meaning, and to selectively deploy that newly contextualized monument in society, obscuring other stakeholders’ meanings and uses (Di Giovine, 2009, p329; Di Giovine, Cowie, 2014). Referencing the “inherently contextual nature of the term,” I argued that its significance changes according to the broader social milieu in which it is invoked; “heritage” can be understood as a conceptual memorialization of a specific ideological claim about the past, and a group’s particular relationship to it in the present and the future. I saw that heritage fits into UNESCO’s embrace of globalization precisely for this reason: though it clearly refers to past time, it knows no definitive spatial or temporal bounds, but rather can be applied across a wide variety of social contexts with equal ease (Di Giovine, 2009, p91).

II. Critical Reception of a Model for Understanding UNESCO’s World Heritage Program

A. Reception and Critical Engagement

  • 2 In preparation for this article, Aaron Gallant, my student at West Chester University, compiled a d (...)

12In the decade since this neologism was coined, interest in UNESCO’s heritage-making process has grown, and scholars have critically engaged with the concept of the heritage-scape in a number of ways2.

13First, the heritage-scape has been cited as a novel theoretical model for understanding UNESCO’s World Heritage endeavor and its workings. When writing The Heritage-scape, the only resources I could find were pamphlets and papers published by UNESCO itself (see for example: UNESCO, 2005). Today, there are several excellent monographs that complement my analysis, focused as they are on different subjects and means of data collection. My concept of the heritage-scape had been the result of what can be called a multi-sited ‘ethnography of the middle’—neither of locals on the ground nor of the upper echelons of UNESCO, but the tourists and tourism industry professionals who moved between them. However, subsequent monographs by scholars conducting participant observation at the World Heritage Centre in Paris (Labadi, 2013; Joy, 2012; Smith, Akegawa, 2009; Meskell, 2013b, 2014) provide a valuable view of the “top” of this process and the backstage negotiations that produced the initiatives I analyzed; indeed, Christina Cameron and Mechtild Rössler’s (2013) history of the World Heritage Convention grew out of the latter’s first-hand experience directing the Centre. Amariswar Galla’s edited volume (2012), published by UNESCO, included contributions by those working at UNESCO or intergovernmental funding agencies, as well as academic scholars. Others (Smith, 2006; Harrison, 2013 ; Adell, et al., 2015), would discuss UNESCO’s heritage endeavors from the side, so to speak; their analyses stemmed from interactions with UNESCO’s representatives as they conducted participant observation or archaeological work at particular sites. Still others have used the heritage-scape model for providing a wider context in their ethnographies of particular heritage and/or tourism sites, or of particular countries’ tourism development endeavors (cf. Brumann, Berliner, 2016; for intangible heritage see Foster, Gillman, 2015).

14Second, the concept of the heritage-scape articulates the phenomena that the meanings of heritage sites are not fixed, but negotiated and change in significance over time. These sites have different meanings to different stakeholders, yet are nevertheless unified through what I called, pace Bourdieu (1993) a “field of heritage production” (Di Giovine, 2009, pp8-9). Scholars have built on this to demonstrate how states-parties often manipulate a World Heritage designation for “nation-framing” (del Marmol, et al., 2016) or national development agendas (see for example: Shepherd, 2013); indigenous communities and the locals who lay claim to them are often marginalized through these processes (Logan, 2013 ; Meskell, 2013a). Indeed, these designations are inherently the result of politics and political wrangling (Harrison, 2010), where heritage rhetoric is important (Smith, 2006; Lafrenz Samuels, 2015), though the power brokers are often concealed. As Meskell et al. argue, within UNESCO, often individual sites “operate as transactional devices where by cultural, and thus political, recognition both masks and enables a multifarious network of economic values” (2014, p 427 ; Salazar, 2010 ; Reyes, 2014).

15Third, the heritage-scape is used as a model to illustrate the interconnectedness of tourism and World Heritage. I wrote at a time when interest in the connection between heritage and tourism was growing (see for example: Boniface, Fowler, 1993 ; Timothy, Boyd, 2003 ; Bruner, 2005 ; Basu, 2007), with but a few monographs looking specifically at World Heritage (Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, 1999 ; Harrison, Hitchcock, 2005). I found that tourism and heritage practitioners often espouse very different perceptions of the connection between the two, with many in the travel industry seeing tourism as a driver of commercial benefits while those in preservation see tourism as an unwanted pressure on the integrity of the site. UNESCO itself has had a notoriously ambivalent relationship with tourism; although I argued that tourists were the primary audience of the heritage-scape, this is certainly not articulated in the World Heritage Convention. In fact, the term “tourism” is not even mentioned in the Convention text, and the phrase “tourist development projects” appears only among a list of possible threats to World Heritage sites that could provide the basis for inscription on the World Heritage List in Danger (UNESCO, 1972, p 6).Yet this has changed radically in the past decade, as UNESCO has pursued further engagement with the tourism sector. In 2011, the World Heritage Centre initiated its World Heritage and Sustainable Tourism Programme, which is dedicated to “an interpretation and implementation of the World Heritage Convention that embraces sustainable tourism” and ensuring that “visitors understand and gain appreciation of the meaning of Outstanding Universal Value of World Heritage and adopt responsible behaviors” towards sites (UNESCO n.d., p 2). The increased focus on studying heritage tourism in general (see for example: Staiff, et al., 2013; Robinson, Silverman, 2015), coupled with UNESCO’s own embrace of the phenomenon, has led to a burgeoning of academic interest in better understanding the effects of tourism specifically at World Heritage sites, particularly in the ways in which local communities are impacted and engaged (see for example: Bourdeau, et al., 2015, 2017).

B. Adaptations and Modifications

16One misconception that has seemed to emerge in the literature is that I am somehow proposing or promoting the heritage-scape as a viable means to create peace, or that I am writing an apologetic for UNESCO — both of which I am not. In the case studies in my book, and in the many ethnographic contributions to the field, it is clear that UNESCO’s process creates unintended consequences, disparities, and tensions. The heritage-scape is my modeling of UNESCO’s utopian vision, of how these sites fit into a larger scheme to “responsibilize” (Ilcan, Philips, 2006) populations. In subsequent writings, I have attempted to clarify this in two ways.

17First, UNESCO’s World Heritage program can be presented in the context of short-, medium-, and long-term goals, with the creation of peace being an ultimate long-term objective (see Di Giovine, 2014). At the short-term level, inscription of World Heritage sites aims to raise awareness of the individual site, its value and its need for protection; of the importance of visiting these collective sites; and of the organization itself and its initiatives. These are fundamentally acts of knowledge creation and dissemination, and indeed, the World Heritage Fund’s primary disbursals are used for funding knowledge exchange among site managers, and for promotional purposes. These awareness-raising campaigns are also directed towards locals, “to strengthen appreciation and respect…of the cultural and natural heritage as defined in Article 1 and 2 of the Convention” (UNESCO 1972, p13). Based on successful campaigns saving Abu Simbel and Venice in the 1960s — which led to the 1972 Convention — it is believed that these awareness-raising campaigns will inspire international political and economic support for conservation, as well as tourism development, as medium-term goals; as transnational movements of ideas, information, and people move between these sites, the heritage-scape is created.

18But UNESCO has little power to affect these movements; they use normative actions (contractual actions to preserve the site, produce reports on it, and manage tourism that a nation-state agrees to take when nominating its site to UNESCO) and what could be considered coercive actions (threat to de-list the site should the state-party fail to safeguard it) to compel states-parties to act responsibly towards their World Heritage property. The power of its prestige to create seductive imaginaries for tourists (Di Giovine, Picard, 2013) can be seen as persuasive actions, though UNESCO cannot control the myriad imaginaries that circulates around a site, nor the ultimate meanings that tourists will make (and convey to others). Despite the difficulty to control safeguarding and tourism practices—especially since the two are not mutually interchangeable—I argue that UNESCO intends to harness these for peacemaking purposes.

19Peacemaking is ultimately UNESCO’s long-term objective: “UNESCO’s mission is to contribute to the building of a culture of peace, the eradication of poverty, sustainable development and intercultural dialogue through education, the sciences, culture, communication and information” (UNESCO, 2010, p 2). To satisfy this peacemaking objective, its World Heritage Convention relies on the prospect of what can be considered inspired action—long-term, often subtle changes in the ways in which individuals and groups perceive the meaning and value of not only World heritage sites, but the universality of cultural diversity for which these monuments illustratively stand. As I comment:

"This ultimate objective is clearly utopian, and while UNESCO and its representatives talk of peacemaking in some of their documents and decrees, it is clear that such a lofty goal is largely implicit and contingent on the successful outcomes of multiple medium-term objectives that are themselves difficult to fulfill. While only time will tell if such a broad plan can work, UNESCO’s major challenge – other than ensuring success in the equally idealistic aims of creating sustainable and inclusive preservation and tourism development initiatives – is ensuring that the list remain current and representative of the heritage-scape’s audience, which is ever expanding as new populations enjoy greater mobility, global communication, and connectivity" (Di Giovine, 2014, p790).

20Following this recognized need for UNESCO to remain relevant, a second modification to the heritage-scape concept places the World Heritage Convention in broader perspective with its other heritage-and-tourism focused initiatives. The original model explicitly posited that tangible heritage sites were material “nodes” on this constantly shifting, imagined community, and made only passing reference to the 2003 Intangible Cultural Heritage Convention, which has grown in breadth, scope and influence in the past decade. As Hafstein, 2009 shows, the 2003 Convention was the product of negotiation among UNESCO member-states as to how developing countries and indigenous groups—whose cultural production do not conform to the very Western-based notion of monumental aesthetics through which UNESCO and its Advisory Bodies evaluate sites—could be included in the heritage-scape. Yet there are also other important global initiatives that have received comparatively less attention from scholars, but which also broaden the heritage-scape’s “audience” and the manner in which they can participate in it; these range from declarations reconceptualising authenticity, heritage and communities to the promotion of responsible tourism development (Di Giovine, 2015, pp94‒95).

21A particular paradigm-changing initiative is UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network, an association of urban areas around the world that are designated not only for their cultural heritage, but for the ways in which they integrate creativity into their sustainable development projects (Butler, 2007; Mabry, et al. 2016). A city may apply for recognition as a creative hub in one of seven categories: craft and folk art, design, gastronomy, literature, film, media arts, and music. Unlike the other world heritage conventions, this program is driven by the city (rather than the nation-state), focuses on preserving cultural innovation and creativity (rather than a static notion of tangible or intangible heritage), and unabashedly is concerned with sustainable tourism development (UCCN, 2016a, 2016b). Yet, since it is facilitated by UNESCO, it falls under the same ultimate goals: to raise awareness of the urban landscape and the historically rich, cultural creativity in it, which would lead to safeguarding initiatives and tourism, and, ultimately, to link these under a peacemaking meta-narrative of unity in diversity — UNESCO’s stated long-term goal. Together, these and other similar heritage-focused initiatives form what I have called UNESCO’s World Heritage Program, “a structured ensemble of interlocking initiatives by UNESCO which, through Conventions, declarations, proclamations, norms and projects, represent a coordinated and evolving effort by UNESCO to universalize the discourse and practices concerning heritage, its preservation, and its utilization, for the ethical aim of fostering ‘peace in the minds of men’ through an active appreciation and internalization of the historical nature of human diversity” (Di Giovine, 2015, p84). Importantly, tourists, locals, national ministers and even some site managers interact with elements from all of these projects. Thus, this totalizing ensemble is the World Heritage Program, and the heritage-scape remains its geo-spatial model.

C. Future Areas of Research

22One contribution of the heritage-scape model is its emphasis on the interconnectivity of seemingly disparate places, practices, and stakeholders, from the local to the supra-national levels. The research that has emerged concerning the global (Bauman, 1998 ; Robertson, 1995) nature of heritage and tourism is rich and beneficial. It would be equally beneficial for future scholarship to also concentrate on better understanding the interconnectedness of UNESCO initiatives within the World Heritage Program, and how tangible world heritage sites and their preservation are impacted by the flows of interactions by tourists, donors, politicians, and industry professionals’ at intangible heritage events and “creative cities.” Particularly as the Creative Cities network — which is inherently more commercially aligned with tourism than the WH and ICH Conventions are—is growing in scope, and as more than one billion tourists travel the world annually (see​), there is equally a need to devote more attention to examining the interconnectivity of sustainability in heritage and tourism (Di Giovine, 2017). Sustainability — ensuring that the environmental, economic and social needs of a people are met in the present without sacrificing them for future generations—is a growing concern, particularly among tourism scholars and practitioners. There is already a sense among preservation professionals that mass tourism is incompatible with preserving the socio-cultural, as well as physical, integrity of monuments. Yet organizations like the International Cultural Tourism Commission (ICTC) at ICOMOS—UNESCO’s advisory body for tangible heritage preservation—are debating how the two can be mutually sustainable, though solutions are elusive. Last, and inexorably tied in these, is the need to continue focusing on the ethics of world heritage practices. There is certainly much critical research on the oft-negative impacts of heritage development on indigenous peoples, and many professional associations have ethical codes of conduct, yet there are few up-to-date, systematic analyses of where they differ and converge in the realm of UNESCO’s work (cf. Logan, 2012; Di Giovine, Majewski forthcoming). This is important since, ultimately, the heritage-scape stands a model for a particular ethical project—one that may always be utopian and elusive. More focused studies of the ethics of world heritage practices are necessary, particularly in these turbulent times.

D. Postscript: A Statement for Junior Scholars

23I suspect that many are not aware that The Heritage-scape was essentially my Master’s thesis, expanded with new research and rewritten in the early years of my Ph.D. program. I feel incredibly fortunate that the publisher, Lexington Books—a division of Rowman and Littlefield — took a chance on me so early in my career. During the course of my graduate studies and now my professional work in academia, I have met brilliant junior scholars who feel overwhelmed or intimidated by academic publishing. When I wrote The Heritage-scape, I felt that I had something to say; I likewise encourage junior scholars who believe they have a contribution to make to take a chance and submit a paper to a journal or a proposal to a publisher. In the realm of tourism studies, there are many different journals—some, like Via@tourismreview are open-access, ensuring a high diffusion of scholarship. Many professional societies (including the American Anthropological Association’s Anthropology of Tourism Interest Group) solicit blog content from their members; these are also widely read and produce a high level of scholarship. And there are several excellent book series with major publishing houses that focus on the social scientific aspects of heritage and tourism. Noel Salazar and I have recently begun a book series with Lexington, The Anthropology of Tourism: Heritage, Mobility and Society, in which we specifically make a point to reach out to, encourage submissions from, and mentor, junior scholars as well as more senior experts. Fittingly, not only is this the same publisher who took a chance on The Heritage-scape, but our first book in the series (Hill, 2017) was a reworked Master’s thesis, just like my own.

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1 However, it was given a 2009 copyright, which is how I am citing it here.

2 In preparation for this article, Aaron Gallant, my student at West Chester University, compiled a database of some 500 citations of the term and its uses. The following section is based on an analysis of this database.

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Michael A. Di Giovine, « The Heritage-scape: Origins, Theoretical Interventions, and Critical Reception of a Model for Understanding UNESCO’s World Heritage Program », Via [En ligne], 13 | 2018, mis en ligne le 01 septembre 2018, consulté le 02 juin 2020. URL : ; DOI :

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Michael A. Di Giovine

West Chester University of Pennsylvania (USA)

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