The multiple meanings of heritage generate practical difficulties in discussions where wording is the protagonist, when adopting or debating postures, or when proposing developments that, in a way or another, affect it. Heritage is constructed as a part of a relevant field of situated perspectives and dispute, that being personal or from a specific sector of people, then the use of the different meaning attests of a stance and intentionality, with a reach that exceeds the involvement of heritage assets related to each context and circumstance in particular. Usually, the different pretentions of incumbency around heritage assets of a society are introduced simultaneously, and then the disputes can reach remarkable proportions.
This situation is presented repeatedly by hand of the ever-growing commodification of culture (including and sustained by tradition and traces of the past) led by propositions around tourism; the use of heritage assets as an argument in sustaining rights that come off identity postures (like nationalism or indigenism) and their regard of it as a stand out factor in economic development and quality of life of the population (by designating and accommodating places for public shared use).
Memory, identity and heritage
The difficulties that the diversity of use and interpretation of the concept of heritage brings, are increased by the close association that frequently is related to memory and identity, each of them is assigned to variables of the meanings created around social representations of cultural and natural assets.
Memory, identity and heritage nourish and are based mutually, as the origin of arguments and public debates related to situations and assets associated with the past they had (or would have) placed in a determined territory. Even though these categories have recognized individual meanings, for this subject in the three cases we´ll use their collective o communitary meaning.
Heritage collective property
The proliferation of meanings assigned to heritage, about its senses and collective property, is a reflection of tensions and considerations originated around what is understood as welfare of the community. In our society, public and indispensable services (like transportation, electric power, drinking water, health, justice and education) have clearly assigned roles of lender/consumer and, with that, affect the mechanisms that make the flow of money and distribution of responsibilities. On the contrary, everything associated to heritage assets, their incumbency and attributions are burred and get resolved in case by case bases, in a random way, according to context and circumstances.
The social relevance of heritage
In most cases of the possible activation and management of heritage assets they stay in an indefinite situation that could become permanent. The limited room that our time’s society gives to sharing assets collectively, that are oriented to the common interest and benefit, it’s the Achilles’ heel of the management of heritage, and is paradoxically the point that makes the argumentative bases to justify their alleged big social relevancy. Besides, the signs of heritage management in a district are part of the terms in which ideology dominant powers are expressed, and then, to know about them is in itself a wide situational analysis of the society all together.