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To renegotiate heritage and citizenship beyond essentialism

  • Anders Högberg


The heritage sector all through Europe and beyond is historically linked to the task of providing nations with glorious myths of origin within a metaphysical framework of essentialism. This is now shifting. With ambitions to pluralize the past, archaeology and the heritage sector are transforming within the nation state. Heritage in present-day societies has increasingly come to serve citizens with a range of cultural identities to chose from. But what is actually new in the way archaeology and the heritage sector address issues of heritage and citizenship? This text discusses how the heritage sector tends to renegotiate the essentialism of the nation state in theory, but at the same time maintain essentialism as the driving force in professional practices and interpretative frameworks. I suggest a new way for archaeology to work within another framework than essentialism. This suggestion does not go beyond the nation state, but inspires archaeology to rethink its narratives on how heritage links to citizenship.


Corresponding author

*Anders Högberg, Archaeology, School of Cultural Studies, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Linnaeus University, Kalmar, Sweden. Email:


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To renegotiate heritage and citizenship beyond essentialism

  • Anders Högberg


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