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The Heritage Machine
Fetishism and Domination in Maragateria, Spain. Anthropology, Culture and Society
This book upturns the conventional understanding of heritage, challenging widespread notions about how we relate to and why we preserve the past.
Heritage research is often based on the assumption that heritage is something `given' to us, that it is good and valuable in its own right. However, by looking at the historical and cultural roots of heritage and its development through the Enlightenment, modernity and capitalism, Pablo Alonso Gonzalez shows that it is in fact a system pervaded by fetishistic social relationships, embedded in capitalism, and not as benign as it appears.
Focusing on a case study in the region of Maragateria, Spain, Alonso Gonzalez explores the ethnic and racial discrimination towards the local population in the context of Spanish nationalism, and how this formed the region's heritage today. By challenging mainstream scholarship in the field, The Heritage Machine rethinks the relations between heritage, ideology and capitalism.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
'An engaging and theoretically grounded analysis of 'heritage' as a form of relation in fetishist societies. Alonso offers an insightful ethnographic exploration while deconstructing the Maragato myth, one of the 'damned peoples' of Spain' -- Cristina Sanchez-Carretero, Spanish National Research Council 'Gonzalez identifies the varied and complex agency of a once despised and now exoticized population against the oppressive backdrop of Spanish nationalism and international neoliberalism. He thereby also throws down a provocative gauntlet to current assumptions in academic heritage discourse' -- Michael Herzfeld, Ernest E. Monrad Professor of the Social Sciences, Harvard University 'The Heritage Machine pushes us to question disciplinary boundaries through a well-crafted and critical analysis of 'heritage' that combines introspection with ethnographic approaches. Gonzalez's provocation in this book is radical' -- Dante Angelo, Universidad de Tarapac, Chile