Nuovi usi e significati di un concetto ormai storico
The ‘cultural heritage’ is an increasingly broad and well-respected theoretical and insti- tutional category. From a chronological viewpoint its enhanced meaning over just a few decades is striking especially in terms of its movement away from the hierarchical considerations of beauty, rarity and high-mindedness which have been invoked in recent times too with an increasingly intense elitist and speculative spirit. Current interest in both tangible and intangible heritage is, on the other hand, for general public consumption, connected to people’s real daily lives and has pursued concrete objectives such as improvements in life quality, safeguarding human rights and sustainable development. It is thus interesting to observe that a new and specific heritage rhet- oric, and the approach to the local area and its people which follows, has been evident in a great range of di erent organizational management and theoretical analysis contexts. This adaptation of ‘heritage’ to the spirit of the times is now at an advanced stage and is a concept which has acquired great appeal in a very wide range of contexts: professionals and specialists in a range of disciplines, politicians, bureaucrats, public and private institutions and so on. Heritage has thus moved beyond the borders of what was once defined ‘cultural’ to merge into the greatest range of social and political spheres taking on a role as a driving force to new focus in line with the times. And it is precisely this change which is important to highlight.