Global to Village| Rewiring UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre and Rural Peripheries: Imagined Community and Concrete Inequality From France’s Corsica to China’s Heyang

Joseph Nicolai


UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre’s communication monopoly over nationally filtered heritage operates not in an apolitical past but in present politics. Working through the “World Heritage Order” and its changing definition of “outstanding universal value,” this article develops a bridge between seemingly disconnected rural sites in France and the People’s Republic of China to move beyond the confines of “imagined communities” and their potential for displacing “concrete inequalities.” The article extends a critical approach of communication to heritage and contextualizes present rural heritage communication within larger political economic and cultural processes of urban–rural and capital–capillary dynamics that enables, in the cases examined, their current heritage identity.


cultural heritage, UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre, People’s Republic of China, rural studies, Corsica

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