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Labour, Mobility and Heritage

Heritage Changes the Local SocietiesIndustrial Heritage
Heritage changes the local societiesheritage and mobilityPost-colonial heritageGlobal vs local
Regular session
9:00, Lundi 6 Juin 2016 (3 heures 30 minutes)
Recent writing in heritage studies and related disciplines has highlighted the stories and histories of working class people as an overlooked and, at times, marginalized element of the collective heritage imaginary and authorized heritage discourses (Klubock and Fontes 2009; Shackel, Smith and Campbell 2011). The heritage of work has the potential to generate powerful and at times difficult engagements with places where the nature of employment, industry and life have changed as a result of development and economic restructuring. An element of these dynamics that has not received much attention from scholars of heritage, however, is the need for people to move to earn a living. Unequal economic opportunities across scales—from the global and transnational, to the regional, to the local—incite and implicate a range of mobilities, from temporary and circular migration, to periodic absences from the home and extended daily commutes. Approaching this reality through a heritage lens may entail the destabilization of places and sites as the locus of heritage-making, opening the possibility of approaches that privilege the lived experience of workers with simultaneous and at times contradictory place attachments. As the literature on “new mobilities” has shown, mobility is an increasingly pervasive feature of economic and social life in the 21st century, but it has a history that is at times forgotten, diminished or misrepresented. Individual and community stories of the uprooting of lives, relationships and attachments to place and home that inevitably accompany work-related mobility are often held in private, as are the challenges associated with living and working in uncertain, precarious and at times unwelcoming arrangements and conditions.
The principal aim of this session is to provide a basis for the generation of understandings of the heritage of mobility related to labour, work and employment. The focus will be to engage with the lived experiences of workers by sharing the stories of individuals and communities affected by mobile work. Moreover, the inclusion of papers treating various forms of work-related mobility will permit a broader discussion on how heritage could be conceptualized in research that privileges mobility (although not a privileged mobility). The session will also encourage participants to consider creative and inclusive methods for representing and rendering visible the intersection of mobility and heritage. Both empirical and theoretical papers are welcome.
Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong
Assistant Professor

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