Heritage and class

West, Susie (2010). Heritage and class. In: Harrison, Rodney ed. Understanding the Politics of Heritage. Understanding Global Heritage. Manchester and Milton Keynes: Manchester University Press and The Open University, pp. 270–303.


Heritage and class are explore here through the heritage of class relations, as a historic category linked to the emergence of industrial capitalism. The first case study explore working-class housing in Glasgow to see how official practices of heritage recognise and curate this type of domestic building. This reveals how the authorised heritage discourse (AHD) can be seen in action, prioritising the aesthetic values identified for selected housing. The second part of the chapter asks how our relationship to heritage could be experienced through our class positions, and introduces Pierre Bourdieu's concept of how cultural capital works. The second case study takes up the challenge of how heritage visitors relate to the AHD and class positions, reflecting on Laurajane Smith's sociological investigate of a survey of visitors to English country houses. It concludes that aesthetic values are not the only ones to be closely woven in with class distinction.

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