Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Inconvenient Heritage examines the processes and products of UNESCO’s inscription of Luang Prabang, Laos as a World Heritage Site. Using an interlinked analysis of the physical and socio-cultural environments, the book is the first comprehensive study of Luang Prabang to examine issues of social justice and human rights in the listing and subsequent implementation of world heritage planning and policy processes of the “state’s parties.” Luang Prabang was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1990 because of its unique urban form and its architecture, which fuses Lao vernacular and French Colonial building traditions. The study, and book which followed, incorporates systematic documentation of the physical environment of Luang Prabang’s historic peninsula and thorough comparison of the current environment with the UNESCO inscription documents examines the activities of everyday and spiritual life that occur in this world heritage city and which are threatened by the increasing numbers of international tourists who visit the city. Inconvenient Heritage employs a novel theoretical frame that joins heritage, and human and community rights, with dimensions of the physical, social, and cultural environments. Through its careful documentation and analysis of the physical and socio-cultural environments and links with previous work in both environment behavior and heritage studies, it brings new significance to this area of study.

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