Heritage as the democracy of the dead, the living and the unborn: The role of dialogue with monuments in integrating commonalities

Ganiatsas, Vassilis (2018) Heritage as the democracy of the dead, the living and the unborn: The role of dialogue with monuments in integrating commonalities. In: ICOMOS 19th General Assembly and Scientific Symposium "Heritage and Democracy", 13-14th December 2017, New Delhi, India. [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Abstract (in English)

Heritage predates conditions and finally forms our cultural life, while we constantly reframe it in changing urban contexts. In this diachronic, dynamic cultural process of conservation and development, a diversity of stakeholders invests different sets of values, establish different cultural significances and envisage different futures for their heritage. Yet, heritage is common to all in both; its spatial dimension, as it occupies the common public space of all stakeholders, and in its temporal/ historical dimension, as it equally pervades their shared history and memory. We could add to G.K. Chesterton’s phrase “Tradition is the democracy of the dead. It means giving a vote to our ancestors”, that heritage, as tradition, is also the democracy of giving a vote to our unborn descendants. What is urgently needed in order to accommodate this growing diversity of involved stakeholders of heritage at any one time, but also at different times involving past, present and future generations of stakeholders is an active dialogue centred upon the monuments themselves and their emitted cultural significance. This shift of the point of view from the dialogue between stakeholders to a dialogue of all of them with the monuments, could establish the latter as valid interlocutors in setting, according to their idiosyncrasies, the criteria of their compatibility, capacity and potential vis a vis urban development. Such a dialogue with monuments could then safeguard sustainability of both, heritage and development alike. Monuments as active agents can make a claim for a democratic dialogical process that alone could establish their common sense on a common ground and conflate conservation and sustainable development in one place. Dialogue, the prime characteristic of democracy, should be the prime means towards unfolding this potential of monuments for spatial and temporal mediation in establishing a common ground of shared cultural significance in multi-cultural urban environments.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Ganiatsas, Vassilis
Languages: English
Keywords: heritage; development; commonalities; dialogue; tradition; democracy; conservation; stakeholders; cultural; compatibility; urban; sustainable
Subjects: D.URBANISM > 02. Urban planning
E.CONSERVATION AND RESTORATION > 09. Social and economic aspects of conservation
G.DETERIORATION > 05. Prevention of deterioration
J.HERITAGE ECONOMICS > 05. Heritage and sustainable development
National Committee: ICOMOS International
ICOMOS Special Collection: Scientific Symposium (ICOMOS General Assemblies)
ICOMOS Special Collection Volume: 19th General Assembly, New Delhi, 2017
Depositing User: intern icomos
Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2018 17:25
Last Modified: 26 Jul 2023 13:09
References: Chesterton, G.K. (1908). Orhodoxy. Chapter 4, ‘The Ethics of Elfland’.

Gadamer, H.G. (2004) Truth and Method, London and New York: Continuum, p.354-355.

Ganiatsas, V. (2015) Heritage Values as means and ends of place ethics, in: Tsoukala, K. et al (ed),

Intersections of Space and Ethos, London and New York: Routledge, pp. 30-40.
URI: https://openarchive.icomos.org/id/eprint/1947

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