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Disinheriting the inheritance: universal proclaiming and local dissonance


Harsha Munasinghe

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Today, we live in a modern world, in which an economic society characterised by individualism has been transformed. The 'West', becoming the materialistic and ideological centre of this divided world, sets norms and values for the periphery. The intensive discussions on culture, heritage and identity are emerging today, but they are framed by the globalisation of world cum individualisation of society. Emphasising the market value, the modern heritage discourse turns the inherited items into commodities. The international charters and documents, styled after the Western modernism, have not resisted this either. They disconnect the heritage from its spatial as well as social context as their assessment procedures and protection approaches are fashioned according to the economic society. The national charters, mostly styled after those international documents, fail to establish the cultural continuity. The modern heritage discourse thus causes disinheritance. This paper studies the heritage discourse, with aims to emphasise the potentials of a decentralised assessment and ascription of values to lay foundations for a post-economic society.

How to Cite: Munasinghe, H., 2003. Disinheriting the inheritance: universal proclaiming and local dissonance. Built-Environment Sri Lanka, 3(2), pp.49–58. DOI:
Published on 27 Jul 2003.
Peer Reviewed


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