Heritage studies have emerged at a forefront of interest among both scholars and practitioners, in counterpoint to the massive social and cultural upheavals in communities around the world affected by globalization. This book provides a succinct conspectus of issues raised by three cases: the indigenous peoples of Taiwan, the Ulster-Scots people in Ireland, and the local clan groups in Mount Hagen, Papua New Guinea.
The analysis shows that in all cases heritage is an emergent aspect of identity and that ideas of it are shaped by both macro- and micro-processes of history. These processes involve the uneasy relationships of minority cultural groups with larger groups in which they are embedded, and the selection and strategic appropriation of cultural themes and values as grist to the mill of the reshaping of identities and claims of legitimacy.
Heritage emerges as a malleable category, shifting in alignment with, or conflicting with, the ebb and flow of political powers. The Hagen case also delineates the vicissitudes of the creation and maintenance of a unique UNESCO World Heritage site centered on the emergence of horticultural processes there some ten thousand years ago.