Discourses of Nature Conservation and Heritage Management in the Past, Present and Future: Discussing Heritage and Sustainable Development From Swedish Experiences
The relationship between heritage management and nature conservation in Sweden has changed over time, from an earlier division between the two sectors — with nature conservation attached to the growing movement of environmental politics — towards more integrated ways of working under the umbrella of sustainable development. As forests have been associated with nature, the earlier divide has been more evident with forested areas than agricultural areas, a view that has contributed to the marginalization of such landscapes and their inhabitants. With the more integrated policy, heritage management is drawn into the societal discourse of ecological modernization, where environmental and sustainability issues have become new business ideas and sources of further economic growth. From an ecological modernization perspective, nature and cultural heritage are today (touristic) commodities, enforcing the power of the urban world over the rural world and thus risk contributing to further marginalization of the inhabitants. However, heritage sites appear to function as boundary objects in local communities, and may thus function as meeting places and sources of enhancement of community pride. Therefore, we argue for community participation and public communication within the heritage sector, especially concerning marginalized, forested landscapes in order to contribute to an increased knowledge and understanding of the local heritage and history, thus opening the way for creative local processes.
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