A human right to cultural heritage
MetadataShow full item record
In recent years, global institutions like the UN and UNESCO have increasingly treated obligations to preserve cultural heritage as obligations to uphold human rights. Owing to the relative novelty of this approach, little work has been done to see what exactly such rights would be and how this treatment of cultural heritage could be justified. Not only is it unclear what the foundations of a human right to cultural heritage are or what precisely such a right ought to entail, but it is equally uncertain what is meant by cultural heritage in the first place. Considering this, the aims of the thesis are the following: (i) provide a philosophically robust definition of cultural heritage and its social value that could serve as a foundation of the human rights approach to cultural heritage; (ii) building on this understanding of cultural heritage, provide a systematic conceptual analysis of obligations to preserve cultural heritage understood in the language of human rights. The thesis defends a constructionist-inspired account of cultural heritage, according to which cultural heritage is not primarily about historical objects and practices, but rather about how we employ such objects and practices to make sense of our internal and external worlds, both as individuals and as communities. Equipped with this understanding of cultural heritage the thesis provides a justification of a human right to cultural heritage by appealing to the centrality of cultural heritage to our individual normative agency. This is followed by a discussion of the limits of a human right to cultural heritage, where such limits are determined by its harmful uses. Lastly, the thesis provides a discussion of legal duties that a human right to cultural heritage will generate and briefly considers whose responsibility such duties are.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Items in the St Andrews Research Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.