– European heritage discourses and transnational practices in a Viking site
- Name: Eleonora Narvselius
- Academic credentials: docent, PhD with specialization in Ethnic Studies and studies of East-Central Europe
Abstract: Vikings heritage caught an eye of the EU heritage managers who discerned the potential of rich archaeological relics and stories about border-transgressing cultural contacts of ancient Northerners for fostering a European identity. Since 1993, the Council of Europe supports Viking Cultural Route as one of many heritage routes on the continent. This network of Viking-related tourist destinations is nowadays both geographically extensive and attractive for different groups of heritage stakeholders. Its proclaimed aim is “European cooperation in linking Viking Age attractions and development and marketing of these attractions for tourists throughout Europe”. It is instructive to look closer at what Europeanization of Viking heritage may look like in practices of a single heritage site. The Viking Museum in Foteviken, a Swedish heritage institution under auspices of DVA, is especially instructive as a tourist attraction where complex heritage work has been enabled since the accession of the country to the EU in 1995. Based on analysis of the museum’s exhibition, printed production, material in the media and on-site observations conducted in 2013-2015, it may be assumed that not one, but several European heritage discourses have been “downloaded”, “uploaded” and “cross-loaded” in this concrete case. Europeanization of heritage proceeds here by means of practical realisation of several related discourses. Among them one can distinguish a traditional expert heritage discourse spiced by “European” phraseology and normative formulas, as well as a more inclusive expert discourse emphasizing importance of local participation, accessibility and mutual enrichment of academic and non-academic expertise. On the other hand, popularity of the living history museum in Foteviken among tourists and re-enactors might give a clue about performance of contemporary ethnicity that resonates with Europeanization of heritage “from below”.
Theme: Border-Crossing: Migration, Travel, and Tourism