Governing public heritage assets with civil society: exploring the typologies of collaboration by the dominant actor

Imperiale, Francesca; Sancino, Alessandro; Fasiello, Roberta and Ricci, Paolo (2024). Governing public heritage assets with civil society: exploring the typologies of collaboration by the dominant actor. Journal of Management and Governance (Early Access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10997-023-09693-6

Abstract

This paper addresses the societal challenge of sustainably managing cultural heritage, a topic of great relevance for the sustainability of societies and their historical institutions. Specifically, it focuses on long-lasting collaborative systems set up between a public actor and civil society in response to the need for heritage asset preservation, here exploring the roles of both actors in establishing and governing the collaboration over the heritage asset. Our research is exploratory, and our qualitative study is based on 10 case studies purposefully selected from eight different European countries. Three emerging typologies have been identified: in the first, the public sector fully retains the governing power; in the second, the public sector and civil society jointly create a new institutional order; and in the third, the public sector delegates and gives power to civil society actors. The findings point to the key role played by civil society actors in activating collaborative governance, both through practices of functional collaboration and countergovernance. Finally, the article concludes by discussing the main theoretical and practical implications for future research in the field.

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