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Geo-political complexities of governmentality and Balkanism: Deconstructing UNESCO World Intangible Cultural Heritage discourses

Melis, C, Wise, N and Badurina, JD (2022) Geo-political complexities of governmentality and Balkanism: Deconstructing UNESCO World Intangible Cultural Heritage discourses. Political Geography. ISSN 0962-6298

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This study critically discusses the entanglements between World Heritage and geo-politics. It deconstructs the geo-political gaze which, it is argued, characterises the articulation of the UNESCO World Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) programme in the Republic of Croatia. The study of ICH specific to the case of Croatia is significant in political geography because it entails how cultural heritage is instrumentally used to promote nation-building while seeking to overcome past suppression of its culture. The article takes the Foucauldian concept of governmentality and Todorova’s notion of Balkanism as epistemological frameworks. The aim is to understand what discourses are in play for Croatia as an independent nation to self-reflexively represent itself in the UNESCO international community and establish its geo-political positioning among other European nations through the transactional device of ICH. We argue that UNESCO acts as a supranational body which interacts with Croatia in the matter of ICH safeguarding. It therefore contributes to an emphasis on a governmentality discourse; at the same time, Balkanism can be regarded as a backdrop against which Croatia has constructed its own identity and legitimised its European aspirations.

Keywords: World Heritage; Intangible Cultural Heritage; Geo-Political Positioning; Governmentality; Balkanism; Croatia

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1604 Human Geography; 1605 Policy and Administration; 1606 Political Science; Geography
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
J Political Science > JC Political theory
Divisions: Business & Management (from Sep 19)
Publisher: Elsevier
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 02 Dec 2022 10:15
Last Modified: 19 Jan 2024 00:50
DOI or ID number: 10.1016/j.polgeo.2021.102578
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/18250
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