Tafterjournal n. 82 - giugno 2015

Cultural Heritage and Value Creation. Towards new Pathways


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“What do we mean by cultural heritage?” Is it the classical definition of “culture” relating to a purely material dimension still relevant, legitimizing the protection of “cultural heritage” as opposed to protection and enhancement? Is it perhaps time to reconsider the scope of this concept in a new way based on a systems approach?”


These are the fundamental questions discussed in the book edited by Gaetano M. Golinelli, “Cultural Heritage and Value Creation. Towards new Pathways”, which highlights, with the support of different authors, the changes in the role, the definition and the management of the cultural heritage occurred in the past few decades.


As M. Montella notes in the essay “Cultural Value”, the notion of cultural good moved “from the ideal and particularly aesthetic value of rare and fine historical and artistic items to the evidential value of beni culturali in the systemic and anthropological sense”. The shift “from the value in itself to the value of use, from cultural heritage as wealth to be preserved to cultural heritage as a resource to be used for social benefit” entails not only an expansion of the field which now include intangible cultural heritage, but also a significant impact on the management side.


On this side, cultural heritage enhancement plays a new fundamental role. There is a movement “from protection being enough to enhancement as the primary social goal and the democratically necessary condition for protection” (M. Montella), or perhaps there should have been it.


In Italian Cultural Heritage management, in fact, as noted by S. Barile and M. Saviano, is still dominant “a reductionist view of the ‘objects’ of value to conserve and protect”. In the legislative perspective, enhancement is a recent acquisition of “a body of law that has always been firmly shaped by the culture of conservation as end in itself” (M. Montella). Symmetrically this main task is not yet carry out in a satisfying way by the Italian cultural heritage governance, whose structure is still “built upon the main goal of safeguarding a rich set of ‘objects’” and characterized by “high organizational fragmentation” (S. Barile and M. Saviano)


It’s time to go over these reductionist view and to reconsider the logic of the management of Italian cultural heritage, which at the present records inefficient performance. Underlying the urge of “significant change in perspective”, the authors suggest a systems approach, also called “viable systems approach”, in which protection and enhancement are “harmoniously recomposed within a relationship of reciprocal necessity” to ensure a better governance of cultural heritage.


A “viable systems approach” that have been developed, even if “unconsciously”, by UNESCO and already implemented in its conventions and programs, as highlighted by the essay on intangible cultural heritage of T. Scovazzi and the other two papers concerning the enhancement of particular cultural heritage such as Rural Vine-Growing Landscapes and the Mediterranean diet. In fact, as states by G. M. Golinelli “’cultural heritage’ in the UNESCO system has always been perceived, evaluated and promoted as an integral part of a specific social and economic fabric, the identity of a defined community”.


Addressed primarily but not exclusively to those who are involved in the cultural heritage governance, this book offers not only an interesting analysis to understand the new role of cultural heritage in the contemporary society but also a methodological approach to rethink the cultural heritage governance in a more flexible and dynamic way as required by the changing context.




Cultural Heritage and Value Creation

Towards new Pathways

Gaetano M. Golinelli (Edited by)

SpringerInternational Publishing, 2015

€ 83,29


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