‘Authenticity’ for the Visited or for the Visitors? ‘Collective Memory’, ‘Collective Imagination’ and a View from the Future

Benson, Ciaran (2018) ‘Authenticity’ for the Visited or for the Visitors? ‘Collective Memory’, ‘Collective Imagination’ and a View from the Future. Reconstruction: an ICOMOS Integrating e-journal . pp. 1-11. [Article]

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Abstract (in English)

From the viewpoint of a psychology that is interested in how cultures shape and colour conscious states, selves, identities, emotions, memories, allegiances and so on, this paper reflects on the ways in which ideas from psychology characterise the thinking of policymakers in the area of heritage conservation and restoration. Specifically, it focuses on ideas of ‘memory’ and ‘authenticity’. It asks whether the concept of ‘authenticity’ is culturally and historically relative, and how it works towards an ideal of global unity, such as is espoused by the United Nations. It reviews how ‘personal memory’ relates to the notion of ‘collective memory’, and suggests that this latter idea is metaphorical in nature. It argues that a productive emphasis for those interested in monuments and sites might now be on the idea of ‘collective imagination’ rather than just on that of ‘collective memory’. This in turn would support the need to develop a greater understanding of the visitors to heritage sites, as well as on developing an understanding of what it is they are visiting. It concludes by speculating on the profound changes underway with world population growth, urbanisation, and the pervasive implications of the development of digital and virtual realities. It ends with the question of whether it matters that people may increasingly be unable to distinguish ‘the ersatz’ from ‘the real’, ‘the authentic’ from ‘the imaginatively (re)constructed’?

Item Type: Article
Languages: English
Keywords: reconstruction; theory of conservation; theory of restoration; presentation; Cultural significance; Social aspects; Values; personal memory; collective memory; collective imagination; authenticity; changing realities; psychology
Subjects: A. THEORETICAL AND GENERAL ASPECTS > 09. Philosophy of conservation
A. THEORETICAL AND GENERAL ASPECTS > 12. Theory of conservation
A. THEORETICAL AND GENERAL ASPECTS > 12. Theory of restoration
E.CONSERVATION AND RESTORATION > 02. Theory and doctrinal texts
E.CONSERVATION AND RESTORATION > 09. Social and economic aspects of conservation
National Committee: ICOMOS
Depositing User: Mrs Lucile Smirnov
Date Deposited: 12 Mar 2018 15:48
Last Modified: 12 Mar 2018 15:48
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URI: http://openarchive.icomos.org/id/eprint/1858

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