Heritage on the Go: Abbreviated Heritage in a Mobile World

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter explores the airport as a new space for the exhibition and performance of cultural heritage, drawing on Zygmunt Bauman’s discussion of liquid modernity and John Urry’s mobilities paradigm. Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok and Incheon Airport in Seoul each offer “heritage on the go” to their domestic and international tourists in the form of selective displays of iconic elements of national heritage. Acts of “heritage on the go” are a response to globalization’s hypermobility. The territorialized countries (Thailand, South Korea) undertake an abbreviated heritage scripting of their airports that is readily consumed and easily transported into new territories, for by virtue of being travel venues there is inadequate time for the tourist to more deeply engage the subject matter. “Heritage on the go” opens a new critical inquiry into tourism and heritage. It recognizes two interacting domains of heritage production—institutional actors and the tourists themselves—as makers, not just consumers of heritage. The “heritage on the go” concept can be applied to other officially sanctioned, elementally distilled, intended-to-be-rapidly-consumed performances or installations of heritage. Of particular interest is where these rapid displays take place and who authorizes them.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHeritage in Action
Subtitle of host publicationMaking the Past in the Present
EditorsHelaine Silverman, Emma Waterton, Steve Watson
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-42870-3
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-42868-0
StatePublished - 2017


  • abbreviated heritage
  • airports
  • Bangkok
  • mobilities
  • non-place
  • placefulness
  • Seoul


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