A blog by Birgit Meyer and Mattijs van de Port about the recently published book “Sense and Essence. Heritage and the Cultural Construction of the Real” appeared on TRAFO. Click here for the full blog on the blog site of the Forum for Transregional Studies.
Sense and Essence is grounded in a long-standing collaboration. Conducting anthropological research in different regions (Brazil, Ghana, Angola, The Netherlands, South Africa), the contributors explore the formation and contestation of heritage in plural environments, in which the past and its value is up for debate, and new forms of heritage arise whilst existing ones are questioned. Situated in the margins of the established field of heritage studies, we developed an interest in the study of heritage formations against the backdrop of broader questions with regard to politics and aesthetics of world-making. How are worlds made in such a way that they are experienced as real by their inhabitants? Posing this question, our point is to neither treat the real as given nor to take it as merely constructed.