A critical analysis of the legal and quasi-legal recognition of the underlying principles and norms of cultural heritage
thesisposted on 11.04.2016, 11:01 by Charlotte Cassandra Woodhead
Certain things, places and practices are valuable to particular individuals, communities, nations or to mankind to such a degree that the loss or destruction would be a misfortune to the culture, identity, heritage or religious practices of those people(s). For the purposes of this thesis, cultural heritage represents the intangible aspect of these important things, places and practices. It will be argued that despite the existence of various cultural heritage principles which represent the different types of value, public legacy and associated norms with its subject matter, these principles are not always effectively upheld in the governing legal regime, although a body of principles akin to legal ones has developed, from professional practice, codes of ethics and non-legal decision-making bodies. Recent legal intervention has responded to political imperatives at the risk of a clear and consistent regime to effectively meet the underlying principles of cultural heritage. The most effective means of fulfilling these principles and norms is by treating cultural heritage as an intangible legal concept, akin to property which in its English common law form is really a bundle of rights associated with things tangible or intangible rather than simply ownership and possession or the physical things themselves. In this thesis a system is proposed whereby decision-makers take account of the intangible nature in a holistic manner within a legal framework. Consequently it would facilitate the allocation of entitlement to the subject matter of cultural heritage in seemingly conflicting claims and would more effectively uphold the cultural heritage principles and norms The thesis will be tested in the context of cultural heritage objects.