Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/143700
Title: CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE: THE HERITAGE COALITION AND VERNACULAR-HERITAGE NEXUS IN YANGON
Authors: MARK HENG SHU XUN
Keywords: landscape practice, heritage politics, urban coalitions, heritage city, urban space, Yangon.
Issue Date: 2015
Citation: MARK HENG SHU XUN (2015). CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE: THE HERITAGE COALITION AND VERNACULAR-HERITAGE NEXUS IN YANGON. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: In this thesis, I introduce and develop the concept of the ‘heritage coalition’: a temporary alliance for combined action for heritagisation through opposing modes of producing urban space. It is a heuristic device that captures the complex dynamics of contemporary heritage conservation as a contested set of more-than-cultural landscape practices, in terms of key leitmotifs in the literatures on heritage politics (discourse, scale, and identity) and urban coalitions (pro-growth agendas and nongrowth interests). To explicate my argument, I investigate the arena of the ‘vernacular-heritage nexus’ – the nexus of relations between the ‘heritage coalition’ and the vernacular city – in the context of Yangon, to show how heritage actors are seemingly caught in the middle between the dual and contradictory tendencies of the globopolis and the cosmopolis. This renders the complex dynamics of the ‘heritage coalition’ simpler, while suggesting that contestations and negotiations will emerge between heritage actors as they seek to realise ‘heritagisation’ processes in the face of the ongoing ‘vernacularisation’ of the city. I suggest that ‘heritagisation’ is taking place in Yangon through the collaboration of urban stakeholders in a ‘heritage coalition’ across sectorial boundaries. As Yangon’s heritage actors are not only concerned with heritage per se, their broader aims inflect how they understand Yangon as a heritage city, and the Janus-faced character of heritage becomes evident in how they understand the challenge of negotiating with the ‘vernacularisation’ of Yangon’s colonial buildings by current dwellers and existing socio-spatial practices. Although there are differences in understanding the ‘vernacular-heritage nexus’ within each institution, the different urban stakeholders in Yangon’s ‘heritage coalition’ can be tentatively located on a continuum between the globopolis and the cosmopolis vis-à-vis ‘vernacularisation’. Therefore, Yangon’s ‘vernacular-heritage nexus’ may be where the contestations between its heritage actors emerge as they negotiate their tendencies towards either mode of producing urban space.
URI: http://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/143700
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