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Capturing the Intangible and Tangible Aspects of Heritage: Personal versus Official Perspectives in Cultural Heritage Management


  • Grete Swensen
  • Gro B. Jerpåsen
  • Oddrun Sæter
  • Mari Sundli Tveit


In discussions on how to handle local heritage values, local values or insider-ness are often seen as synonymous with intangible aspects of heritage. At the same time, expert knowledge is usually associated with material objects, whereby experts have had the power to define what to preserve. In this study of three Norwegian towns, complementary and interdisciplinary methods have been used to address the relationship between personal and official perspectives on cultural heritage values and their tangible and intangible aspects. Results from interviews asking people to describe places they value in the area in which they live have been compared with results from a study of the official heritage plans in three selected towns. The study shows that a gap has unintentionally been constructed in the understanding of cultural heritage. To bridge the gap additional methods for documentation of cultural heritage and their contexts have to be developed. Experiments with various forms of active user participation are one way to introduce new additional approaches and thereby create local engagement and awareness of the role cultural heritage can play.

Suggested Citation

  • Grete Swensen & Gro B. Jerpåsen & Oddrun Sæter & Mari Sundli Tveit, 2013. "Capturing the Intangible and Tangible Aspects of Heritage: Personal versus Official Perspectives in Cultural Heritage Management," Landscape Research, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(2), pages 203-221, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:clarxx:v:38:y:2013:i:2:p:203-221
    DOI: 10.1080/01426397.2011.642346

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