Cultural heritage, or patrimony, is a technology that transforms people's everyday habits, or culture, into forms of property. Thus in neoliberalism's wake, patrimony has been configured as a source of value essential to development schemes that stress knowledge economies. In this review and extension of anthropological approaches to patrimony, I argue that a vacillation between alienable and inalienable cultural properties constructed around quotidian habits, or what has been construed as some sort of human essence supervised by UNESCO, has come to rest today on a hybrid form of mining and enclosure of human qualities. I thus follow the logic of a rampant commodification under neoliberalism and consider how enclosure may be extended conceptually from analyses of land to the marketing of a peoplehood. My goal in doing so is to suggest avenues for future research on the global production of value and its relationship to struggles for social justice today.
John F. Collins; Culture, Content, and the Enclosure of Human Being: UNESCO's “Intangible” Heritage in the New Millennium. Radical History Review 1 January 2011; 2011 (109): 121–135. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/01636545-2010-019
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