Comparing Notions on European Cultural Heritage in EU Policy Discourse and Scholarly Discussion

By Tuuli Lähdesmäki.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences: Annual Review

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Cultural heritage is an idea and a concept repeatedly brought up in current EU policy discourse. In recent years the European Commission has launched several initiatives which aim to foster the idea of a common European cultural heritage. The idea is also often referred to in scholarly discussion. There has been vivid discussion in academia about the possibility of a European cultural heritage and what it could be grounded upon. What is a European cultural heritage? How has it been explicated and defined in recent EU policy discourse and scholarly discussion? Through qualitative content analysis of diverse EU policy documents and selected scholarly publications, the article clarifies the multifaceted meanings of a European cultural heritage, compares the similarities and differences between the political and scholarly notions of it, and discusses the interaction and interrelatedness of political and scholarly discussions about a European cultural heritage. As a result, the article brings out diverse phenomena, such as values, events, personalities, styles, architecture, urbanity, borders, a conflicting past, and the EU integration process, through which a European cultural heritage has been defined and presents these definitions categorized on the basis of the tangible, intangible, communal, and spatial dimensions of heritage.

Keywords: European Cultural Heritage, European Union, Policy, Scholarly Discussion, Communality, Spatiality, Tangible Heritage, Intangible Heritage

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences: Annual Review, Volume 11, pp.1-14. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 752.100KB).

Tuuli Lähdesmäki

Academy Research Fellow, Department of Art and Culture Studies, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland