The Inherent Malleability of Heritage: Creating China's Beautiful Villages
journal contributionposted on 2018-02-13, 11:22 authored by Toby Lincoln, Rebecca Madgin
The Beautiful Villages policy is a major policy initiative to secure the socio-economic and environmental development of China. Tracking the development of this policy at a local level reveals the intricacies of policy-making, the extent of local autonomy, and the ways in which rural development is delivered. Contained within this is an examination of the evolving role of heritage within a policy framework that primarily focuses on the natural environment. This article traces the ways in which heritage became a component of this policy in one village in Zhejiang Province. It examines how the value of heritage was gradually realised by government officials and villagers, and how the concept of ecology was broadened to include built heritage, which ensures that funds can be accessed to stimulate rural development. In so doing the article investigates the concept of adaptive governance advanced by Sebastian Heilmann and Elizabeth Perry in the context of the inherent malleability of heritage as both a concept and a process. Focusing on the ways in which institutions recognise and then mobilise heritage to secure instrumental goals enables us to examine the inherent malleability of heritage and how this is aligned to meet specific policy goals in China, as it is around the world.
This work was supported by the Research Incentivisation Fund at the University of Glasgow; University of Leicester College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities Research Development Fund.
CitationInternational Journal of Heritage Studies, 2018
Author affiliation/Organisation/COLLEGE OF SOCIAL SCIENCES, ARTS AND HUMANITIES/School of History, Politics and International Relations
- AM (Accepted Manuscript)