Parsing ‘Public’ for Heritage Management in the Transnational Sphere

Author(s): Kathryn Lafrenz Samuels

Year: 2015


Engaging local communities and the many publics has become responsible practice for archaeologists and heritage managers. However, the character of the public sphere is changing. Neoliberal reforms around the world have seen private and commercial actors increasingly fill the vacuum left in the wake of state withdrawal from social services provisioning. This withdrawal has meant the blurring of public and private interests and opening of new governance mechanisms beyond those of the nation-state. Therefore, the landscape of archaeological heritage in the 21st century is increasingly shaped not simply by local and national frameworks for heritage management but also transnational ones driven by private, commercial, and non-governmental entities. In this talk I discuss the significance of these reformulations of ‘public’ activity in the transnational sphere for archaeologists seeking to collaborate with public partners. Focusing on issues of particular transnational import helps draw out in sharp relief the opportunities and challenges posed by the diverse publics of archaeology in the transnational sphere. I therefore situate my discussion within the unfolding crisis of global climate change, around which a suite of key markers of transnational heritage management may be found, including economic development, corporate social responsibility, public-private partnerships, human rights, and deliberative democracy.

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Cite this Record

Parsing ‘Public’ for Heritage Management in the Transnational Sphere. Kathryn Lafrenz Samuels. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395409)