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Sense and Essence: Heritage and the Cultural Production of the Real

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Volume 9

Material Mediations: People and Things in a World of Movement

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Sense and Essence

Heritage and the Cultural Production of the Real

Edited by Birgit Meyer and Mattijs van de Port

350 pages, 46 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-939-4 $145.00/£107.00 / Hb / Published (July 2018)

ISBN  978-1-78533-940-0 $34.95/£27.95 / Pb / Published (July 2018)

eISBN 978-1-78533-941-7 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit  Buy the eBook! $34.95info on epub formatRequest a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“This is an extensive and influential collection that whilst reviewing I took with me to the field, twice! It is a book to ponder and to return to. It is cohesively edited…, volume nine in Berghahn’s Material Mediations series and a fantastic and stimulating addition…this powerful and detailed volume on the affective nature of heritage needs to be read and re-read, digested and extensively travelled with.” • Journal of Heritage Tourism

“Considering that we all know the world we live in is a ‘construct’, how are we convinced to accept it as real and act accordingly? And how is heritage, which is always a social construct, made real through aesthetics of persuasion and politics of authenticity? By addressing these questions in richly varied ethnographic case studies, this volume not only makes a significant contribution to an issue that is of wider interest to the social sciences, it also makes heritage studies as a field highly relevant to the social sciences.” • Ferdinand de Jong, University of East Anglia


Contrary to popular perceptions, cultural heritage is not given, but constantly in the making: a construction subject to dynamic processes of (re)inventing culture within particular social formations and bound to particular forms of mediation. Yet the appeal of cultural heritage often rests on its denial of being a fabrication, its promise to provide an essential ground to social-cultural identities. Taking this paradoxical feature as a point of departure, and anchoring the discussion to two heuristic concepts—the "politics of authentication" and "aesthetics of persuasion"—the chapters herein explore how this tension is central to the dynamics of heritage formation worldwide.

Birgit Meyer is Professor of Religious Studies at Utrecht University. She is co-editor of Material Religion. Her recent publications include Aesthetic Formations: Religion, Media and the Senses (ed., Palgrave 2009), Things: Religion and the Question of Materiality (ed. with Dick Houtman, Fordham 2012), Sensational Movies: Video Vision and Christianity in Ghana (University of California Press, 2015), and Creativity in Transition: Politics and Aesthetics of Cultural Production Across the Globe (ed. with Maruška Svašek, Berghahn, 2016).

Mattijs van de Port is Professor of Popular Religiosity at VU University Amsterdam and Associate Professor in the anthropology department of the University of Amsterdam. His publications include the monographs Gypsies, Wars and Other Instances of the Wild: Civilization and its Discontents in a Serbian Town (Amsterdam University Press, 1998) and Ecstatic Encounters: Bahian Candomblé and the Quest for the Really Real (Amsterdam University Press, 2011).

Subject: Anthropology (General)Heritage StudiesMuseum Studies


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