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Cultural Heritage and the Challenge of Sustainability
Diane Barthel-Bouchier (Author)
235 pp. / 6.00 x 9.00 / Nov, 2012
Paperback (978-1-61132-238-5)
Hardback (978-1-61132-237-8)
eBook (978-1-61132-678-9)
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Related Interest
  - Anthropology
  - Environmental Studies
  - Heritage Management and Heritage Studies

For cultural and heritage institutions around the world, sustainability is the major challenge of the twenty-first century. In the first major work to analyze this critical issue, Barthel-Bouchier
"The volume establishes a strong foundation for the critical analysis of heritage management and the growing challenge of sustainability, and will certainly find its way onto the shelves of heritage professionals who take the challenge of of sustainability seriously."

- Belinda C. Mollard, Archaeological Review from Cambridge

"...Diane Barthel-Bouchier writes a sensational piece about the need to conserve (not preserve) cultural heritage and the threats that climate change and unsustainable management bring...This is not a book to read; it is a book to adopt, reflect upon and put into practice."

- Jaime ALMANSA SÁNCHEZ, AP: Online Journal in Public Archaeology

"Barthel-Bouchier has asked some very difficult questions about the viability or sustainability of a globalized heritage, an extremely important contribution to scholars of heritage on any scale. … And indeed, perhaps this is the point, that in these times of great risk and environmental uncertainties we should not be searching for globalizing, one-size-fits-all answers, rather we should seek the locally feasible solutions. This book should serve as a call to heritage professionals to start seeking them now."

- Katherine Hayes, Environment and Society

"[This book] is one of the first works to completely analyze the challenges of this controversial issue in heritage management. Putting sustainability into practice is one of the greatest challenges facing heritage professionals today. Barthel-Bouchier plunges into the debate with a well-rounded, in-depth look at the complicated circumstances and challenges facing heritage management, from energy development to cultural tourism, as well as representing the views of both the professional and non-professional stakeholders involved. This comparative study examines both environmental threats to heritage as well as social and economic injustices in heritage management. This volume establishes a strong foundation for critical analysis of heritage management and the growing challenge of sustainability, and will certainly find it's way onto the shelves of heritage professionals who take the challenge of sustainability seriously. "

- Belinda C. Mollard, Archaeological Review from Cambridge

" In this short work, sociology professor Barthel-Bouchier (Stony Brook Univ.) critically explores the sustainability commitments of the "global heritage community." The author begins by providing a short introduction to the concept and evolving scope of heritage and its association with "cosmopolitan memory." Following a chapter on the idea of heritage as a human right, Barthel-Bouchier delves into the rise of the sustainability script within the cultural heritage sector and the attractiveness of this theme for heritage professionals and managers. The author subsequently addresses recent international meetings dealing with environmental threats to cultural heritage, as well as national mitigation and adaptation strategies to safeguard vulnerable heritage sites. Together, these three chapters set up the theoretical context for the sections that follow: climate change, rising waters, and threatened global cities and historic towns; desertification, deforestation, and polar melting and the loss of cultural landscapes; conflicts between heritage conservation and energy infrastructure development; and the contradiction between sustainability discourse (and the task of conserving heritage) and cultural tourism promotion. This well-referenced, provocative book has rich endnotes for each chapter, an extensive bibliography, and an efficient index. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. "


"It can be disconcerting to find one's work subject to probing sociological analysis, but Barthel-Bouchier brings just the right balance of outside perspective and inside knowledge to the job. The result is a fascinating analysis of how heritage agencies, from the local to the global, are grappling with climate change, rising sea levels, desertification, alternative energy, mass tourism, and conflicting definitions of human rights. Anyone who’s in the heritage field, or who takes the challenge of sustainability seriously, should read this book. "

- Ned Kaufman, Kaufman Heritage Conservation and Pratt Institute

" A frank and fascinating exploration of cultural heritage as nostalgic social obsession and rigid bureaucratic process at a time of global crisis - by one of today’s foremost analysts of heritage and environmentalism. This must-read book offers some sobering implications for both future and past. "

- Neil Silberman, Center for Heritage and Society, University of Massachusetts Amherst

argues that programmatic commitments to sustainability arose both from direct environmental threats to tangible and intangible heritage, and from social and economic contradictions as heritage developed into a truly global organizational field. Drawing on extensive fieldwork and interviews over many years, as well as detailed coverage of primary documents and secondary literature, she examines key international organizations including UNESCO, ICOMOS, and the World Monuments Fund, and national trust organizations of Great Britain, the United States, Australia, and many others. This wide-ranging study establishes a foundation for critical analysis and programmatic advances as heritage professionals encounter the growing challenge of sustainability.

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