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The archaeology of Jewish Medieval burial grounds has been a matter of dispute over the non-disturbance of Jewish human remains by Ultraorthodox Jewish groups. They call for the application of the Halakha, the Jewish religious law, claiming that those graves are of people of Jewish faith. The topic of non-disturbance of human remains by archaeologists may echoes the disputes, claims, and arguments defended by indigenous communities. But I will argue here that the two cases show little resemblance since neither are Jewish people uniquely indigenous in the European context, nor do religious laws govern the management of medieval heritage in Europe. Accordingly, the topic under discussion has little relation to religious claims to ancient heritage nor to the ethics of archaeological practice in relation to human remains, but to the politics of archaeological practice in the contemporary multireligious world. The article seeks to provide a full picture of discussion on the issue of the management of ancient burial grounds in Europe, raising sensitive issues regarding particular religious communities. Here the recommendation given by the Faro Convention will be introduced, but also its limitations discussed when mediating with particular communities and their religious agendas.
This article is a close reading of Steilneset Memorial for the victims of the witch trials in Vardø, Norway. In the official discourse it is underscored that Steilneset is a reminder both of those who were sentenced to death for witchcraft and victims of present persecutions. The line of inquiry refers to this past/present assimilation: How are past witches represented? Why should we use this as a model for understanding current concerns over cultural difference and human rights? I read the memorial with reference to the cultural analytical obligation of understanding “others” on their own premises. To tackle the tension between the language of the memorial and relativist heuristics, I turn to a notion of cultural heritage that pinpoints affinities between symbolical forms across cultures. In this way I show that Steilneset presents a Manichean history of good versus evil, and thus repeats the cosmological distinctions behind witchcraft beliefs. The discourse on the memorial erases the cultural difference of the past. This makes it a weak model for understanding present concerns with human rights and cultural differences. Furthermore, I link the main message of the site to how different institutions and interests involved in the construction of the site have influenced it. Official texts presenting Steilneset use the language of traumatic memory. However, there is also an explicit commercial interest behind the memorial. Assuming that it would be inappropriate to convert the memory of victims of more recent atrocities into an economic asset, this indicates that the memory of the accused witches does not belong to the same zone of reverence as, for example, the victims of the Holocaust. To analyse the cultural policy aspects of these issues I turn to a distinction between “cultural policy in the proper sense” and “cultural policy as display”.
Why are some parts of the built environment protected as national heritage and others not? Listing is the most restrictive tool of Norwegian and Danish preservation in the built environment and creates a specific version of the past told through buildings and sites. The heritage authorities in both countries present listing as an instrument to protect a representative sample of all the country’s built structures and environments (in theory for eternity). The article examines the role of mass housing complexes, a significant product of the welfare states from the 1950s and onwards, in the practice of listing buildings in Norway and Denmark. We examine why two early mass housing neighbourhoods, Lambertseter in Oslo and Bellahøj in Copenhagen, have been considered worthy of listing, but without being listed as yet. The study shows how not only the official criteria for listing, but also tacit values established in architectural history and economic mechanisms effect contemporary decisions about whether to list mass housing areas. In conclusion, we question the role of the official criteria for listing and instead call for a more open discussion about why and how listing creates national history.
This article discusses which consequences the political aims about increased use of dialogue and democracy in Norwegian heritage management can have for the sector. Today all levels of public management in Norway are involved in projects involving users to participate in the production of cultural heritage. The article concerns knowledge production, power structures, ethics, and value systems within public heritage management in Norway.
Denne artikkelen diskuterer digital og digitalisert kulturarv som en del av kulturpolitikken, og behandler utviklingen av og status for det som kan kalles det norske digitale kulturarvsfeltet. Gjennom kartlegging av roller og normer undersøkes hvilke maktforskyvninger som har funnet sted i dette feltet og hvilke kulturpolitiske konsekvenser som dette innebærer. Artikkelen viser at feltet er sammensatt av en lang rekke offentlige aktører og prosjekter, som samtidig har sammenfallende og konsistente ideer om betydningen av kulturarvens digitalisering. Artikkelen viser også hvordan det digitale handlingsrommet til en offentlig kulturpolitikk først har blitt forsøkt utvidet, mens det i senere tid ser ut til å krympe kraftig.
Nøkkelord: Kulturarv, digitalisering, kulturpolitikk, forvaltning, makt
This article treats digital and digitized cultural heritage as part of cultural policy and discusses the development and the status of a digital cultural heritage field. Through the mapping of roles and norms, relevant power shifts in this field are examined, as well as the cultural-political consequences of these changes. The article shows that the field is composed of a wide variety of public agencies and projects, which at the same time shares common and consistent ideas about the importance of cultural heritage digitization. The article also shows how the digital influence of public cultural policies have first been tried to be extended, while it in recent times seems to have shrunk significantly.