What’s wrong with heritage experts?

Our new co-authored article “What’s wrong with heritage experts? An interdisciplinary discussion of experts and expertise in heritage studiesis available online first in the International Journal of Heritage Studies.

Abstract: The role of heritage experts has become a prominent topic in the heritage studies literature. Proclaiming that ‘we are all heritage experts’, one of the striking features of the interest in experts within the heritage literature is the tendency to confine the discussion to the issue area of heritage, rather than situating it within the wider multidisciplinary discussion on the role of experts in modern democratic societies. Taking inspiration for the burgeoning multidisciplinary literature on experts, this paper is an attempt to theorise more fully the role of heritage experts in liberal democracies. This discussion leads to an acknowledgement that we are not all heritage experts in a narrow sense of the term. We need heritage experts, in the same way as we need other forms of expertise in modern societies characterised by a division of labour. This implies expanding the emerging interest for ‘studying up’ and carrying out more research on the political dimension of heritage.

More about the project: The article is the second article written as part of the project critical reflections on heritage research. The first article looked into Laurajane Smith’s seminal book Uses of heritage.

Full reference: Hølleland, Herdis & Joar Skrede 2018. What’s wrong with heritage experts? An interdisciplinary discussion of experts and expertise in heritage studies. International Journal of Heritage Studies. Online first. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/13527258.2018.1552613

Photo: “Park Archaeologist Beth Horton examine soil color”. Yellowstone National Park. Flickr.