Heritagization: The Complexity of the Heritage Inscription
Time & LocationSession 5
Thu 09:00–10:30 Room 1.103
- Nguyen Thi Hien Vietnam National Institute of Culture and Arts Studies
- Laurel Kendall American Museum of Natural History
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- “10% of the Villagers Have Benefit, and the Rest Live Miserably on the Heritage”: The Story of Interest Group Conflict in Conservation of Living Heritage Nguyen Thi Hong Nhung Vietnam National Institute of Culture and Arts Studies
Duong Lam is a commune in Son Tay Town, Ha Noi City, Vi?t Nam. Over hundreds of years of formation and development, Duong Lam still protects most of the typical features of a traditional village of Kinh people in the Northern Delta. In 2006, Duong Lam became the first ancient village in Viet Nam that was inscribed by the State on the national list of cultural and historical monuments. The heritagization of Duong Lam village has had significant impacts on the heritage itself, the management and the life of the villagers, both positive and negative. From a agricultural village, Duong Lam has attracted tourists to experience and explore the house architecture, village culture and people’s life. So that, a small number of families which still preserve their ancient houses have benefited from tourism business activities, some family have also develop traditional jobs and participate in selling products to tourists. Besides, since the inscription of the heritage, the life of a large part of the villagers has also been turned upside down. Activities related to the traditional houses must comply with all strict regulations of the Cultural Heritage Law, such as maintenance, rebuilding houses ... Many three-generation families have to live in an old, cramped house, and without a toilet. Some ancient houses were restored by the State but the landlord was not satisfied with both quality and funding. It is hard for some the other owners of the ancient houses to attract tourists to come because they have no relationship with the Management Board of the village heritage.
Conflicts in Duong Lam between people and authorities, commune leaders and relics management boards, interest groups in villages, conservation and new construction ... are always insidious and at risk of outbreaks. At the peak of the year 2013, a number of Duong Lam ancient villagers applied to move the inscrtiption from the national list of monuments. Although the authorities and people have cooperated to solve this problem, it is only temporary.
With ethnographic fieldwork data, this study focuses on analyzing conflicts arising in Duong Lam after being inscribed as a heitage village. Whether personal or economic interests are placed above the heritage values? Are the conflicts of group interests are the main cause of "moving the heritage from the National List"? What is the key to resolving the conflict between heritage conservation and social security for people in the case of Duong Lam?
- Inscription of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Vietnam: A Process of Making Heritage and Consequences Nguyen Thi Hien Vietnam National Institute of Culture and Arts Studies
Viet Nam is one of the few countries with promulgation of the Law on Cultural Heritage (2001) and amended in 2009 to update a number of articles under the UNESCO Conventions. Viet Nam is also actively involved in ratifying and implementing Conventions such as the 2003 Convention on the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage, the 1972 Convention on cultural diversity (2005) and on the protection of the world cultural and natural heritage (1972). This shows that the government is paid attention and support the heritage sector. The process of heritage inscription is legalized and specified by law. The inscription of the heritage on national and international cultural heritage lists can be seen as a process of promoting and raising awareness about heritage safeguarding, as well as increasing the interference and concerns of government, managers, stakeholders, the general public and the custodian community to heritage. What happens when the heritage, especially the intangible cultural heritage of the community, is practiced in the community and for hundreds of years, is suddenly inscribed nationally and internationally? This paper is based on the study of some UNESCO’s inscribed intangible cultural heritage elements in Viet Nam to analyze the process of making heritage and issues related to the inscription such as the heritage politics, administration of heritage, making use of heritage to develop tourism, raise income, and etc. Thereby, this paper will give some methodological views related to the process of making and inscribing heritage.
- Uma Lulik as Heritage: Ancestors, Agriculture, Kinship Carolina Boldoni Lisbon University Institute
The uma lulik (sacred houses, Tetun) are paramount within the East Timorese rural society, as well as within the current UNESCO heritageisation [Harvey 2015] in Timor-Leste. In fact, these ‘traditional’ architectures are scattered throughout the territory, presenting different symbolic and aesthetic configurations based on the area they are located in, as well as on the ethno-linguistic group they belong to. What kind of representation of the uma lulik the Official Heritage discourse is developing in Timor-Leste? What elements of the uma lulik are included and which ones are excluded and why?
The presentation is going to focus on the characteristics of the uma lulik that are left aside by the Authorised Heritage Discourse [Smith 2006] in Timor-Leste and try to argue the reasons of this. During my fifteen-months fieldwork research in the sub-district of Venilale (district of Baukau, Timor- Leste), I could notice how the social configuration of the uma lulik is important within the rural communities of the territory, sometimes even more than the actual physical structure of it. Most importantly, the sacred houses represent kin and clan relationships celebrating the alliances between the fetosan (wife ‘takers’) and the umane (wife ‘givers’) as well as the offspring resulting from these ‘agreements’ throughout the generations. Hence, the uma lulik are places where the memory of the clan is stored, represented by the objects of the dowries and the gifts exchanged by the fetosan and umane, as well as by the objects transmitted by the ancestors.
In addition, agriculture is one of the most important activities for the local rural communities of Venilale, which is partly related to uma lulik. In fact, each uma lulik has ‘sacred’ fields which belong to it. The harvesting of the rice and the corn (staple East Timorese food) of these ‘special’ fields deserve a celebration for the ancestors, to show gratitude to the ancestors for the harvesting. Generally, celebrations are conducted in the uma lulik building. In the cases in which the uma lulik has not been built yet, the household does celebrate the harvest in the origin place of the lineage. Thus, twice per year harvesting celebrations take place. Other elements and places of the territory can belong to the uma lulik. Along with the ‘special’ or ‘sacred’ fields, there are also ‘non-domesticated’ places of spring of waters, that are always considered lulik (sacred/forbidden in Tetun). Generally speaking, the land and the landscape are believed to be inhabited by spirits (lulik) [Bovensiepen 2009]. Despite the importance of these rituals connecting the clan to their uma lulik, to their ancestors, to the land and to the territory they inhabit as well as to natural/non-human spirits that are believed to inhabit the land, the Authorised Heritage Discourse does not seem interested in recognizing these celebrations as part of the local traditions and of heritage. Why these celebrations are not displayed as national heritage? Are there other rituals linked to the uma lulik which are more likely displayed rather than the agriculture cycle? Can we think about these connections between people, ancestors and territory as an emic form of Cultural Landscape? What can this knowledge tell us about the resources of the territory? Why and how the Heritage discourse in Timor-Leste is trying to ‘transform’ the representation of the rural areas (foho)? And what is the ‘answer’ at the local level? In short, I am going to point out the ambiguities of the ‘liberal’ discourses and policies developed by the government institutions and by the International Heritage framework. Consequently, I am arguing how these liberal discourses are one of the main reasons why the Heritage Discourse is currently focused on the tangible elements of the uma lulik, leaving aside the intangible dimensions of the sacred houses.
- Whose Is the Temple? The Dimensions of Heritage Making in Contemporary Society in Vietnam Phan Manh Duong Vietnam National Institute of Culture and Arts Studies
The making of cultural practices and monuments is seen as the process in which the government, cultural managers and other stakeholders involve in the safeguarding and promoting it. Today, the cultural expressions and historical monuments/relics have been inscribed on the national and international lists. Along with the inscription, there are a number of projects that have been carried out to expand the scale of monuments, or to make use cultural practices for other purposes such as for tourism or for a very specific or personal objective. With that, heritage will be taken out from its custodians and even become a vehicle for outsiders. Therefore, the inscribed element is often coupled with the restriction or marginalization of its custodians. Through the study of specific case of Tram Gian Buddhist temple, Hanoi City this paper will demonstrate the various dimensions on heritage as a dynamic process in the cultural, social and political context in Vietnam today.
UNESCO’s Conventions and national laws inscribe heritage elements on natural features and products of human effort, both tangible and intangible. Heritage designations have been actively pursued as national projects and by regional, ethnic, and other communities within nation states. In addition to safeguarding and protecting heritage, the inscription is usually regarded as advantaging to the custodial community, but heritage designations sometimes produce unforeseen tension and sometimes result in damage to or distortion of the intended object of preservation, radically changing a cultural practice or transforming a sacred site into a crowded tourist attraction. The process of heritagization, which assumes the participation of several different stakeholders – state, community, organizations, and individuals – and the consequences of international conventions and laws may marginalize some stakeholders. At the same time, heritagization may promote the cohesion and empowerment of stakeholder groups as they strategize and promote their own heritage claims. The papers in this session explore the complexity of heritage inscription in Southeast Asia through several carefully-researched case studies of heritagization.