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Title: Understanding heritage : multiple meanings and values
Author: Marmion, M. M.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2730 9470
Awarding Body: Bournemouth University
Current Institution: Bournemouth University
Date of Award: 2012
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This research aims to explore the ways in which people understand and value heritage through a focus on the lay rather than the expert view. This focus was considered important in order to move beyond the emphasis on expert knowledge within heritage discourses and in turn, privilege lay understandings of heritage. This study adds to current knowledge by offering an in-depth understanding of the non-expert view of heritage and the multiple meanings and values that heritage represents within this context. The rationale for this research is based on the increasingly important role heritage plays within the wider visitor economy and the recognised interrelationships between heritage and tourism. In order to develop long-term, meaningful relationships with current and potential heritage audiences, there is a need to appreciate the ways in which people engage with heritage in a much broader sense and to understand the meanings and relevance that heritage may represent within this context. In order to meet the aim of this research, an inductive qualitative methodology was designed which prioritises the emic or insider perspective of heritage. To further enhance the inductive nature of this study, the primary research took place away from a pre-defined „heritage’ context in order to allow the participants themselves to define and shape heritage as they understand and value it. Eight focus groups were carried out with forty-seven members of the public and the data was analysed through a thematic framework. Nine themes and related sub-themes were constructed to represent the lay understandings, meanings and values of heritage. The social nature of the focus group method, along with the interaction it fosters between participants, led to a range of insights about the relevance of heritage. The majority of heritage research to date has taken place within a pre-defined heritage context, which inevitably limits the scope for accessing and understanding the views of those who do not typically engage with heritage in this way. Therefore, this study further contributes by incorporating the views of those who do not typically fall within heritage user or visitor categories. By exploring the views of the so called non-user or non-visitor of heritage the barriers that prevent engagement with „heritage‟ and „heritage tourism‟ as it is defined and presented by the industry are identified. The implications of this study relate to the need for more engaging and personally relevant heritage narratives that build from an understanding of the meanings and values that shape engagement with heritage beyond a personal level. Heritage practitioners and academics need to embrace lay understandings of heritage within their activities and seek to empower current and potential audiences to critically engage with and actively interpret meanings from the heritage they present.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Tourism