Citizen Participation and Heritage Management in Rural Landscape Contexts

Jose M. Señorán Martín

Abstract


‘The personal is political’ is one of Kate Millet’s most famous phrases. It refers to the mismatches between the needs of the citizenry and practices carried out by those in the political sphere. In our case, we can relate this to integrated heritage management, and more specifically, the policies implemented in recent years in rural contexts in Spain. This paper examines the case of the large number of Heritage Interpretation Centres, restoration of traditional structures, and archaeological excavations which were initiated from the 1990s by rural municipalities, with funding from the European Union (Leader Funds, mainly), but many of which a decade later have failed and been abandoned by public institutions. This paper argues that this was partly due to the lack of public participation in the development of these projects, which were managed vertically and asymmetrically, with the inhabitants of the towns excluded and unable to contribute their own vision. Future heritage management projects should be based on citizen participation and empowerment of the different local agents that are closer to heritage sites. Through a case study in northern Cáceres, a revitalisation of the rural northern Extremadura area is proposed based on sustainable heritage tourism and revolving around three key concepts: cultural landscape, heritage and empowerment. For this to be implemented successfully, we must deal with various characteristics which form the identity of the region, as well as the particular political development within northern Extremadura.

Keywords


Landscape, Citizen Empowerment, Sustainable Tourism, Community Archaeology, Archaeological Heritage.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5463/lac.2014.71

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Copyright (c) 2016 Jose M. Señorán Martín

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LAC 2014 proceedings - ISBN 978-90-825296-0-9 - is an open access initiative supported by the University Library, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.