Prolegomena do etnografii „pomników historii i kultury narodowej”. Dziedzictwo jako wymiar nowoczesnej historyczności
PROLEGOMENA TO ETHNOGRAPHY OF “MONUMENTS OF HISTORY AND NATIONAL CULTURE”. HERITAGE AS A MODE OF MODERN HISTORICITY
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Taking as her starting point the concept of “historicity”, understood as a way of conceiving the past through different social practices [Hirsh and Stewart 2005], the author reflects on the results of her long term ethnographic research on two prominent “monuments of Polish history and culture”: namely the royal castles in Warsaw and Cracow. Following up on Hirsh and Stewart’s insight that academic history is one of the modern historicities, the article proposes taking “history” and “heritage” (understood by David Lowenthal  as two co–existing sets of past–oriented practices) for two modes of modern historicity, arguing that to some extent they also correspond to different modes of representation of the past in modernity, as described by Bann . Pointing to the late modern crisis of representation, the author studies the politics of the representation of the past, focusing on historic monuments. It is suggested that their status is legitimized on two levels of power relations. On the macroscale the stance of subsequent political systems and governments are considered, and the material and institutional solutions that result from them are considered, while on the micro–scale the political involvement of the two historic monuments emerges from expert discourses and practices. It is on the micro–scale level of power relations, that historic value is ascribed to objects, and they become heritagized. Ethnographic research of historic monuments should therefore recognize the modes of historicity involved, and describe their selective character and legitimizing practices, opening up the field to further analysis of the power relationships involved.
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