Empowering marginal lifescapes: the heritage of crofters in between the past and the present
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionInternational Journal of Heritage Studies (IJHS). 2018, 24 (1), 17-34. 10.1080/13527258.2017.1362579
There is a rich, but unacknowledged, heritage of rural subalterns, crofters, in Scandinavia. A Swedish-Norwegian interdisciplinary research-network investigated the most prominent category – the remains of crofts. Due to industrialisation, urbanisation and the modern welfare state, the institution of crofting was abolished, and many crofters left for opportunities elsewhere. The welfare state transformed a landscape of living and working people into a one filled with relicts mostly from the nineteenth century. Although numerous and important to local citizens, these sites fall outside the authorised heritage discourse (AHD) in terms of both research and heritage management. This paper takes an environmental justice perspective to challenge the AHD. Three themes are in focus: (1) bringing out the history of a subaltern and marginalised group of people; (2) promoting crofts as heritage of importance to local citizens and demanding complex management due to the various historical narratives and risks; (3) considering the crofting landscapes in relation to the (economisation) framing of heritage in development processes, especially in relation to fair development in present rural communities.