Since the turn of the twenty-first century, an anxious presentism has taken hold of our social and political reality. This condition rejects the lessons of the past, fears the future, and amplifies crises in the present moment, suspending whole societies in uncertainty. These extraordinary times demand innovation of heritage critique, which lacks a core framework for understanding how heritage interacts with the uncertainty of transition. This paper offers an innovative approach to the problem, arguing for transferring the paradigm of contemporary liminality from political anthropology into heritage studies. Contemporary political anthropologists have adapted liminality’s ritual structure to large-scale phenomena like war, revolution, and extreme transition to understand these experiences at the level of the communities living through them. With an epistemology free from the constraints of secular rationalism, contemporary liminality provides a framework for understanding heritage amid transition that sheds new light on core investigations into the politics of memory and identity. It also leads to the concept of a liminal heritage, heritage that takes on characteristics of its liminal context such as ambivalence, ambiguity, imitation, danger, deception, violence, and creativity.
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Research Article| August 07 2023
Wicked Heritage Problems: Rethinking Critical Heritage Theory with Contemporary Liminality
Alicia V. Stevens; Wicked Heritage Problems: Rethinking Critical Heritage Theory with Contemporary Liminality. Global Perspectives 6 January 2023; 4 (1): 82128. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/gp.2023.82128
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