This article is concerned with some of the implications of the fact that Europe is so widely seen as a place replete with heritage, museums and memory, and also with the continuing expansion in numbers and types of heritage, museums and memory. It seeks to explore some of the ways in which heritage, in particular, is understood (including what it calls 'sticky heritage'), and especially the cultural and social work that it is often seen as able to do. To this end, the article reviews a number of trends in heritage developments, especially the diversification of what it calls 'Museum Europe' (e.g. in the establishment of museums or exhibitions about migration) and the kinds of citizenship that this mobilises. Some of the dilemmas as well as capacities of these developments are discussed. At the same time, the article reviews some of the directions in heritage research and the implications of this, and of 'Museum Europe' itself, for anthropology, ethnology and related disciplines.
Hemme, D., M. Tauschek and R. Bendix (2007) (eds), Prädikat ‘Heritage’. Wertschöpfung aus kulturellen Ressourcen (Berlin: LIT), 368 pp., Pb: €29.90, ISBN-13: 978-8258-9892-2.
Kockel, U. and M. Nic Craith (2007) (eds), Cultural Heritages as Reflexive Traditions (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan), 240pp., Hb: £52.00, ISBN- 13: 978-1-4039-9748-7.
Engaging Anthropological Legacies toward Cosmo-optimistic Futures?
Sharon Macdonald, Henrietta Lidchi and Margareta von Oswald
How to deal with the legacies of colonial and other problematic pasts is a challenge shared by most museums of ethnography and ethnology. In this introduction to the following special section on the same topic, the section editors provide an overview and analysis of the burdens and potentials of the past in such museums. They set out different strategies that have been devised by ethnographic museums, identifying and assessing the most promising approaches. In doing so, they are especially concerned to consider the cosmopolitan potential of ethnographic museums and how this might be best realized. This entails explaining how the articles that they have brought together can collectively go beyond state-of-the-art approaches to provide new insight not only into the difficulties but also into the possibilities for redeploying ethnographic collections and formats toward more convivial and cosmo-optimistic futures.