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A Place in History: Social and Monumental Time in a Cretan by Michael Herzfeld

By Michael Herzfeld

Michael Herzfeld describes what occurs whilst a forms charged with old conservation clashes with an area population adversarial to the nation and suspicious of tourism. targeting the Cretan city of Rethemnos, as soon as a middle of studying below Venetian rule and later inhabited by means of the Turks, he examines significant questions confronting conservators and electorate as they negotiate the "ownership" of heritage: Who defines the prior? To whom does the prior belong? what's "traditional" and the way is that this made up our minds? Exploring the meanings of the outfitted setting for Rethemnos's population, Herzfeld reveals that their curiosity in it has extra to do with own histories and the fast social context than with the formal heritage that pulls the conservators. He additionally investigates the population' social practices from the standpoints of family and family members staff, political organization, local, gender ideology, and the consequences of those on attitudes towards domestic possession. within the face of modernity, the place culture is an item of either reverence and commercialism, Rethemnos emerges as a tremendous ethnographic window onto the ambiguous cultural fortunes of Greece.

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Additional resources for A Place in History: Social and Monumental Time in a Cretan Town (Princeton Studies in Culture, Power, History)

Sample text

Until the late 1 9 60s, when the promise of tour istn heralded economic growth, buildings that had stood for three or four hund red years were repaired as best people could manage, then allowed to decay because they served as storerooms for rough tools and materials that would not suffer greatly in the seeping damp, and finally mined for masonry when they could no longer serve even this humble function . The so-called kalderimi, a street leading down from the south side of the Venetian fortress (For­ tezza ) , formerly paved with a mosaic of carefully graded cobblestones, is now a ragged, weed-infested, and uneven path : I was already alive and saw that kalderimi when the Germans came here, and it was completely undamaged.

It is important, then, to recognize that a shared rhetoric of the past, however official it may seem on the surface, can conceal multiple interpretations and experiences of time. This is what the ethnographic evidence most strongly suggests . Historic conservation is an increasingly common phenomenon glob­ ally. It appears to serve a fairly consistent set of social, economic, and ideological goals. The houses of Rethemnos, with their echoes of Classi­ cal Greece and of the European Renaissance, present a theme that colo­ nialism has carried around the world.

To understand social time in these terms, and to understand how it THE TOWN OF THE TALE 15 affects the development o f a historic conservation program such as th at of Rethemnos, it is not enough simply to record acts of resistance against conservation alone. On the contrary, we must see how time is appre­ hended in a wide variety of contexts. In these terms, we shall see that the monumental version of time is in fact extremely vulnerable to creative reuse by the same social forces that it seeks to control .

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