“Heritage: knowledge and circulations”


Linda BOUKHRISEIREST : Equipe Interdisciplinaire de REcherches sur le Tourisme (EA 7337)
Sébastien JACQUOTEIREST : Equipe Interdisciplinaire de REcherches sur le Tourisme (EA 7337)
Didier NATIVELCESSMA : Centre d’Etudes en Sciences Sociales sur les Mondes Africains, Américains et Asiatiques (UMR 245)


The Work-Package (WP) on “Heritage: knowledge and circulations” comprises researchers from a variety of disciplines who are conducting investigations into various fields and objects, directly on objects designated as heritage assets or whose heritage status is controversial.

This WP has set out to understand heritage designation from two perspectives. The first questions the process of heritage designation in its relationships to different forms of knowledge and power. It sets out to identify the way heritage renews the logics of domination but also, through alternative approaches, spawns other approaches to recognise and showcase histories and collectives. In this approach, we pose more far-reaching questions on the areas of knowledge and expertise produced or incorporated into the heritage designation process. The second perspective examines the importance of the circulation of expertise, knowledge, standards and practices, in order to question the main hubs and networks for drawing up standards, doctrines and knowledge, and examine their implementation on different scales. The challenge is to move beyond a fixist, localist approach to heritage in order to detect the effect of circulation and exchanges. To this end, the objects in circulation (loans, restitutions, etc.) will be key observatories for heritage designation.

At a more fundamental level, the goal is also to challenge the notion of heritage by approaching it through its boundaries and borderline cases. This will enable us to vary our questioning of heritage by discarding the commonly-held idea of an “all-inclusive heritage” or “heritage inflation”, and instead studying the porous and indeterminate principles of heritage identification. It will require the WP to undertake an epistemological investigation into how the notion of heritage is constructed. This means factoring in variations in the concept of heritage according to the types of expertise and cultural fields. It will also involve the impact of secondary postcolonial and decolonial approaches, and a consideration of the objects studied for which the term “heritage” is itself under debate. The porosity between the heritage phenomenon and market principles also calls for investigation.


Legacies, territories, justifications, heritage-related epistemologies, circulations.

Research fields:

The researchers engaged in this WP’s work conduct field research in a variety of geographical settings, including Africa, the Americas, Europe and Oceania, in urban, rural and wine-growing areas, cultural sites and museums, using procedures appropriate for either onsite investigations or for tracking the circulation of objects, ideas, doctrines, stakeholders, etc.

Examples of research fields: Buenos Aires, Greater Paris, Mexico, Naples, Porto Novo, Tokay vineyards, Yaoundé, collections, etc.