The European Heritage Label: a critical review of a new EU policy

by Simone Kaiser

Institution: University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign
Department: 5203
Degree: MA
Year: 2015
Keywords: European Union
Record ID: 2058341
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/72843


This Master???s thesis discusses a recent EU cultural policy, the European Heritage Label (EHL), introduced in 2011 to designate sites located in EU member states that have significance and symbolic value for European history and integration. I examine how the concepts of European cultural identity and common cultural heritage are used and produced in she rhetoric on the des- ignated European heritage sites, and the intentions and expectations related to the EHL. ???Euro- pean dimension???, ???added value???, ???unity in diversity??? and ???engaging with citizens??? are notions that appear frequently in the discourse on the EHL in official EU documents, as a discourse analysis shows. Two Austrian candidate sites for the label serve as case studies to examine the ideological and practical aspects of the label by means of ethnographic fieldwork in Austria. I conducted interviews with officials, the managers of the EHL candidate sites and the members of the national evaluation committee, in order to understand the implementation, application and evaluation processes in Austria. This thesis also discusses the visibility and the potential of the label, as well as the key issues it raises, such as exclusion, identity-building capacity and its con- tribution to the global heritage sector. This research combines both theory and practice. It is significant in the fields of European Union Studies, and Identity, Culture and Heritage Studies because it looks at how heritage and the branding of heritage is used for identity-building purposes It is also useful for professionals and institutions in the national cultural heritage sector.