Heritage and the Politics of Culture
‘Cultural heritage’ is a narrowed down concept of ‘culture’ generally employed to list out some manageable elements to be regarded as the foundation of the commonality of remembered experience. From ancient times to the present, the world has witnessed many attempts to find out effective means to protect and preserve cultural heritages from the devastating effects of war, looting, trafficking, vandalism and many so on. Considering the sheer importance of cultural heritage the present paper thus intends to shed light on a complex process through which cultural heritages gain political significance to fortify national pride and identity, and therefore become the object of violence or military target. Hence, the paper argues that a greater emphasis on the cultural significance of heritages within the protection and preservation discourse may help to set a counter perspective against the stately use of cultural heritage. Such de-nationalization discourse, as the paper believes, will also reduce military significance of cultural heritages. In setting out the central argument of the paper, the uneasy relationship between UNESCO and anthropology has been critically examined in order to find out the inroads where both UNESCO and anthropology can go hand in hand with an aim to denationalize cultural heritages. Specific examples have been drawn from Bangladesh to validate the claims made in this paper.