Mass, modern, and mine: Heritage and popular culture

Mike Robinson, Helaine Silverman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Although we are surrounded by official heritage, in daily life we live with and in societies of popular culture-popular in terms of mass, openness, fluidity, plurality, hybridity, and the personal. Vernacular life is dynamic and its heritage is expressed in performance and place, notably at the local level. At that scale authorized heritage is not as significant as the heritage that operates through actual communities. Even when "elite" heritage is present in daily life, such as living in or near monumental zones, that heritage is accessed at the local level in popular ways and with reference to notions of the ordinary. The meanings of heritage must be understood in terms of how heritage is received, talked about, circulated, loved, and even ignored. Most importantly, heritage is not static. It is continually in production. Moreover, we do not just produce our own heritage as and within popular culture, we also eagerly consume the heritage that is produced by others. Popular culture travels vast distances. The media, tourism and diasporas are notably active in generating and making available knowledge of these productions. The most striking characteristic of heritage as popular culture is that it is consumer behavior. We advocate greater attention to the relationship between heritage and popular culture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEncounters with Popular Pasts
Subtitle of host publicationCultural Heritage and Popular Culture
EditorsMike Robinson, Helaine Silverman
Number of pages30
ISBN (Electronic)9783319131832
ISBN (Print)9783319131825
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


  • Class
  • Heritage
  • High culture
  • Identity
  • Modernity
  • Performance
  • Popular culture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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