Heritopia explores the multiple meanings of the past in the present, using the
famous temples of Abu Simbel and other World Heritage sites as points of
departure. It employs three perspectives in its attempt to understand and
explain both past and present the truth of knowledge, the beauties of narrative,
and ethical demands. Crisis theories are rejected as nostalgic expressions of
contemporary social criticism. Modernity is viewed as a collection of
contradictory narratives and reinterpreted as a combination of technological
progress and recently evolved ideas. The book argues that while heritage is
expanding, it is not to be found everywhere, and its expansion does not
constitute a problem. It investigates the World Heritage Convention as an
innovation, demonstrating that the definition of a World Heritage site succeeds
in creating a tenable category of outstanding and exclusive heritage. The book
introduces the term “Heritopia” in order to conceptualise the utopian
expectations associated with World Heritage. Finally, it points to the
possibilities of using the past creatively when meeting present-day and future
inherited or passed on over time; that is, to something that lasts despite changes. The concept of heritage thus emphasises continuity with the past, whereas modernity suggests discontinuity. The conceptofmodernity refers to the new that is created in time; that is, to something that forms a break with that which lasts. Modernity carries connotations of change, progress, and the future, while heritage has associations with the old that has survived into the present, with permanence.
Consequently, we rediscover the abstract question of the relationship between change
Melissa Dickson, Emilie Taylor-Brown, and Sally Shuttleworth
disease in the context of burgeoning global modernities of the long nineteenth century. The conceptof ‘modernity’, often defined exclusively by its Western or European model, is of course a relative term, often predicated on a break with the past across social, cultural, political, and economic institutions, and conferred by historians as a means of determining major shifts in orientation.
L. S. Jacyna, in his recent work on medicine and modernism, contends that historians have typically employed this term in such a
-economic status of inhabitants.
New class inequalities interacting with the redefinition of duties among tenants
in the private property system generated uncertainty about communal responsibilities and a concomitant categorisation of neighbours into those who care for
the common good and those who do not. Notwithstanding this, neighbourhoods
and hospitality seem not only to have lost centrality in daily informal interaction,
but the absence of opportunities to socialise among building inhabitants caused
by displacement, new housing systems and the commitment to a new conceptof
of the conceptofmodernity varies in different crisis interpretations. Second, examples are chosen that may strengthen a particular thesis concerning the past and modernity, while others are overlooked or deliberately excluded. Third, all change can create relics in need of protection and preservation, irrespective of whether a rise or decline of modernity is involved.
An emerging modernity means new ideas, new monuments, buildings, places, and landscapes; but it also means that earlier ideas lose their relevance and that the older infrastructure is transformed
to generate knowledge and justice not from some metaphysical, historical or theological precondition
but rather from the resources of reason itself. According to Jürgen Habermas, ‘the
secular conceptofmodernity expresses the conviction that the future has already
begun: It is the epoch that lives for the future, that opens itself up to the novelty
of the future.’30 For modernity, then, reason becomes self-legislating and futureorientated: giving itself the rules for its own development and systematically discarding the beliefs and mystifications that had held it
), p. 335.
7 On rethinking the conceptofmodernity in relation to nineteenth-century France, see the following studies: David Harvey, Paris, Capital of Modernity (New York: Routledge, 2005); Mary Gluck, Popular Bohemia: Modernism and Urban Culture in Nineteenth-Century Paris (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2005); H. Hazel Hahn, Scenes of Parisian Modernity: Culture and Consumption in the Nineteenth Century (New York: Palgrave, 2009); Karen Bowie (ed.), La Modernité avant Haussmann: formes de l’espace urbain à Paris, 1801–1853 (Paris: Editions
take that step would require reformulation
of the initial typology of Axial civilisations in order to incorporate major societies for which the crucial developments occur after the Axial Age. But this would
raise further doubts about the categories of transcendental and worldly orientation to different civilisations across Eurasia.
The second problematic is his concept of multiple modernities (Eisenstadt,
2000a). Eisenstadt has not been alone in infusing the conceptofmodernity
Currents and perspectives
with a consciousness of multiplicity. Gaonkar
artist Ai Weiwei was involved in its design, but his political activism may prove an obstacle. As yet, none of these examples appears on a tentative World Heritage list.
In fact, most of the World Heritage sites – or, at any rate, most of the cultural ones – may be connected to the conceptofmodernity, since they were once modern in the sense of constituting something new in their own present. For example, one of the very first World Heritage sites on the list is Chartres Cathedral (WHL 81bis, 1979, 2009) in France, where the Gothic building style of the twelfth