The Intrusiveness of Heritage

The Vikingification of a Small Community in Vestfold, Norway

in Ethnologia Europaea
Anne Eriksen University of Oslo

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While heritage is almost by definition understood as fragile, vulnerable and in need of protection, this article argues that it is also a powerful cultural force in contemporary society. The small community of Borre, south of Oslo in Norway, is used as a case to investigate how heritage has the power to invade and colonise, and how it has the capacity to create new meanings and redefine social relations. A triad of concepts – expansion, intensification and entanglement – is proposed as a tool for investigating these processes. The article argues that heritage processes “devour” the local culture, turning sites, activities and objects into a Viking mode and becoming a dominant key of understanding.

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