The Impacts of Dictatorship on Heritage Management

by Minjae Zoh

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The work proposes a modified version of Smith’s ‘Authorised Heritage Discourse’ (AHD; Smith 2006) called the ‘Authorised Dictatorial Discourse (ADD)’ which is deemed to be more suitable for territories where dictatorial rule determined heritage policy. Arguing convincingly that since the AHD model was developed in the context of liberal Western democracies (especially the USA, Britain and Australia) the AHD model fails to take sufficiently into account the dominant role of a single all-powerful ruler in determining what should be considered heritage and its treatment. As a result some aspects of the AHD model – such as the capacity for alternative subaltern discourses to emerge –do not apply where dictatorship is the system of rule.
The book uses South Korea’s dictators in the post-second World War period as a case study to explore and develop this idea. It reveals the close personal interest of specific dictators in focusing upon and promoting certain sites as Korean national heritage which government agencies and the public at large were expected to accept. The argument is strong and convincing, drawing upon appropriate sources and analysing them effectively.
The author compares Korea to other states where dictatorships ruled such as Fascist Italy --and uses them usefully as a means of identifying the key aspects of a dictatorship system of rule while at the same time being aware of key differences. This also provides the basis for a valuable consideration of the ADD model and its application to other dictatorial contexts. The closing section offers the suggestion of a range of types of AHD for different political contexts – ‘softer’ AHDs in liberal states, ‘harder’ AHDs where more oppressive rule is in place.

Dr John Carman
University of Birmingham

The relationship between heritage and dictatorship has, arguably, been relatively understudied compared to research on the nation-state. In recognising the importance of understanding how different political systems can have various and particular outcomes on heritage, The Impacts of Dictatorship on Heritage Management has developed the concept of ‘Authorised Dictatorial Discourse’ (ADD) to the ever-growing and evolving field of Heritage Studies.

Through the exploration of the various impacts a ‘dictatorship’ can have on the management and uses of heritage sites, this book sets out to examine how a dictator’s interests in certain heritage sites, and particularly territories, can affect how heritage becomes preserved and promoted in both the mid and long terms. Building on Laurajane Smith’s seminal works on Authorised Heritage Discourse (AHD) in her book Uses of Heritage (Routledge, 2006), this book also seeks to gain a more precise and in-depth understanding of the relationship between ‘heritage and dictatorship’, how authorised discourses on heritage has been exercised, and how territory policies that influenced the preservation and promotion of heritage sites have been executed. In doing so, The Impacts of Dictatorship on Heritage Management aims to provide a better insight into, demonstrate how, and the extent to which the politics of heritage and territory can be interlinked with this type of political system.

This book will appeal to those with a keen interest in heritage management, dictatorship and heritage, South Korean heritage and theoretical heritage management. It will be of particular interest to research students and scholars who are part of this interdisciplinary field.

List of figures
List of tables
Foreword by Marie Louise Stig Sørensen
Author’s Preface
Chapter 1 Heritage and Territories during dictatorships
Chapter 2 A critical assessment of the Authorised Heritage Discourse: Authorised Dictatorial Discourse
Chapter 3 Central case study: South Korea’s Military Dictatorship Era 1961 – 1988
Chapter 4 Historical context
Chapter 5 The Honam region heritage sites
Chapter 6 The Yongnam region heritage sites
Chapter 7 Medium and long term impacts
Chapter 8 Conclusions: “Soft and hard AHD”
Further readings

Minjae Zoh was awarded her PhD in Heritage Studies from the University of Cambridge in 2019. Her doctoral dissertation investigated the relationship between dictatorship and heritage, particularly how a ‘dictatorial discourse’ is implemented during dictatorial regimes. Prior to undertaking her PhD research, Zoh carried out her Bachelors’ and Masters’ degrees in Archaeology and Public Archaeology, respectively, at the University College London.

Currently, Minjae is affiliated with the Seoul National University Museum in Korea and is involved in various UNESCO-related projects. She is presently elaborating on her PhD research by re-evaluating heritage sites in Korea that became affected by the Authorised Dictatorial Discourse.

Political Heritage, Authorised Heritage Discourse, Heritage and Territories, Heritage and Dictatorships, Authoritarian power, Heritage management