World heritage: constructing a universal cultural order
Links to Fileshttps://doi.org/10.1016/j.poetic.2012.03.003
MetadataShow full item record
Type of Work24 pages
DepartmentTowson University. Department of Anthropology, Sociology & Criminal Justice
Citation of Original PublicationElliott, Michael A. and Vaughn Schmutz. 2012. "World heritage: constructing a universal cultural order." Poetics 40(3). Retrieved September 27, 2021 (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.poetic.2012.03.003)
Since the late 1970s, the formal designation of world heritage sites has grown exponentially. Today, there are over 900 such designations bestowed upon national treasures from every corner of the globe, which are believed to have ‘‘outstanding universal value’’ for humanity. At the heart of this world heritage movement is the belief that certain natural and cultural wonders are the collective property and responsibility of all humanity, despite having vastly different historical and geographical origins. What is more, this movement has helped foster a unique feature of contemporary globalization—the recognition of a common, universal heritage to which all societies contribute. But, how did this notion of a ‘‘world’’ heritage come about? Overall, these developments have received little attention from global sociologists. To address this lacuna, we chart the rise of this phenomenon over the past century and a half utilizing a variety of empirical information and explain how key patterns of development reflect fundamental globalization processes— such as the expansion of an interconnected world polity, the diffusion of highly universalistic conceptions of humanity, and the valorization of rationalized techniques as the primary means of human progress. We conclude with suggestions for future research from a global, sociological perspective.