Community Heritage Work in Africa: Village-Based Preservation and Development

Peter R. Schmidt


This paper examines alternatives to top-down approaches to heritage management and development. One of the key issues facing communities around the globe today is the Authorized Heritage Discourse (AHD)--the determination of heritage values by “experts” and government officials on behalf of the people. It is all too common to find local people alienated by such practices and searching for ways in which they can take ownership of their own heritage. Community-based research that shares power and is participatory is one avenue that is quickly developing in many regions around the globe.
In Africa, a number of villages and other small communities have taken the initiative to preserve and develop their heritage, free of outside control. Important lessons may be drawn from these experiences, particularly the use of discourse-based research that captures how the people define and live out their heritages through everyday practice.


East Africa; Haya; UNESCO hegemony; community; collaboration

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DOI: 10.6092/issn.1973-9494/5448


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