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Världsarvets villkor: Intressen, förhandlingar och bruk i internationell politik
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies.
2006 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
UNESCO's World Heritage : On the Preconditions of International Policy (English)
Abstract [en]

This thesis depicts the UNESCO World Heritage Convention (1972), an international law for the protection of natural and cultural heritage sites, as an example of the multiple practices within international policy making. By analysing its transnational constitution, I show how the Convention is constructed in and between locales through bureaucratic and diplomatic procedures characterised by intersecting political and economic interests.

Using neo-institutional theory, I argue that organisations such as UNESCO frame problems as global, provide solutions, and organise the actions of states, organizations, and individuals; furthermore, my research not only illustrates how this occurs but also explores the preconditions of international policy making. While adhering to its officially proclaimed aspirations, states, organisations, and individuals also use the Convention for other purposes such as international prestige, career advancement, publicity, identity, development, tourism – even war. Such contending interests raise the question of explaining the success of the Convention and thereby the preconditions of policy making at the international level.

A conclusion reached by this study shows that growing interest in the Convention can be regarded to result only partially from the general acceptance of its global rhetoric and morally vested perspective or the need for states to gain legitimacy by engaging in international relations. My thesis proposes that rather than by its official aims and formal procedures, the Convention is constituted primarily through complex informal relations, concurring contexts, and external structures.

Data for this ethnographic study consists of field notes from participant observations during UNESCO meetings in France, Morocco, Australia, and at the Convention’s secretariat. A case study of the Agricultural Landscape of Southern Öland, a Swedish World Heritage site, is also included, along with interviews, documents, and media.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Acta Universitatis Stockholmiensis, 2006. , 220 p.
Stockholm studies in ethnology, ISSN 1653-851X ; 1
Keyword [en]
World Heritage, UNESCO, international organisations, international policy, globalisation, bureaucracy, heritage, translocal fieldwork
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-1248ISBN: 91-85445-41-XOAI: diva2:189692
Public defence
2006-09-29, De Geersalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 8 A, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Available from: 2006-08-31 Created: 2006-08-31 Last updated: 2012-07-10Bibliographically approved

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