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'Time Out of Mind'–'Mind Out of Time': custom versus tradition in environmental heritage research and interpretation

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Our environmental heritage is often interpreted as reflecting a fall from grace in which modern society is seen to destroy tradition through an increasingly unnatural relationship to its environment. At the same time, modern science promotes itself as providing a means to restore that natural environment. There is an apparent contradiction between a modernity that is seen as being capable of destroying society's natural environmental heritage and, at the same time, is seen as also providing the curative to save it. This apparent contradiction, it is argued here, represents two sides of the same narrative coin, going back to the Bible and the Greek and Roman classics.This article proposes that by an examination of the distinction between unchanging tradition and custom, as the source of ever-changing practices, rooted in a vital sense of the past, it is possible to re-conceive heritage interpretation, presentation and preservation in more dynamic terms.
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Keywords: CUSTOM; DECLENSIONIST NARRATIVES; ENVIRONMENTAL HERITAGE; NORWAY; PARADISE; PROGRESS; TRADITION

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 December 2001

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