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14.00  Sustainable Urban Heritage Conservation and Research by Indicators: For an Open Approach to Discourse Analysis. The Case of the Historic District of Quebec City

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9:00, Tuesday 7 Jun 2016 (30 minutes)

For a few years now, sustainable urban heritage conservation has been arousing a growing interest in the scientific community. Numerous studies approach urban heritage conservation in terms of sustainability indicators. The majority of indicators to which researchers refer have a qualitative dimension to the extent that they are subject to interpretation by the various actors involved in the process of conservation and development of urban heritage. Many indicators are based on the study of popular perceptions. This will demonstrate that research by indicators in terms of sustainable urban heritage conservation should adopt an open discourse analysis approach. It will demonstrate the added-value of discourse analysis in relation to the study of individual perceptions by suggesting that it emphasizes, more precisely, the action logic and arguments of the actors involved in the process of creating an urban heritage.  

The paper will be divided in five parts. In the first part, we will highlight the dual purpose, political and scientific, of research by indicators in the field of sustainable development. In the second part, we will examine the major features of sustainable urban heritage conservation and demonstrate that research by indicators in this fieldwork is also marked by a dichotomy of political and scientific interpretations. In the third section, we will first explore the processes by which researchers are using the concept of “perceptions” to study the meanings given by the stakeholders to sustainable conservation. We will then demonstrate that the study of perceptions to a single level must necessarily be included within the framework of discourse analysis to be consistent with the dynamics of heritage. In the fourth section, we will provide a case study of an important aspect of sustainable conservation of the historic district of Quebec City (Canada), which is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. In the fifth part, we will discuss the main findings of our research.

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