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From local space to global spectacle: World Heritage and space utilization in Calle Crisologo, Vigan City, Philippines

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Abstract

World Heritage, a project of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) that aims to protect and preserve tangible and intangible inheritances of mankind, enables the construction of 'distributed, "polycentric" networked economy of cultural production and exchange'. This article focuses on Calle Crisologo in northern Philippines, analysing the ways in which it has been creatively produced as World Heritage Site from postcolonial Vigan's built space. Building on Pierre Bourdieu's concepts of habitus, field, and capital and reading ordinances and an architect's plans, I argue that the World Heritage project reconfigures the once local space into a global spectacle. While World Heritage is a western construct and a result of the experience of late modernity, how it is manifested in Calle Crisologo also shows how vernacular modernity developed in Vigan as a colonial city. With the syncretic mixing of cultures in everyday Calle Crisologo as a resource, western modernity, supposed to be unitary and linear in its aims of progress and development, gets deflected.
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Keywords: Vigan City; World Heritage; habitus; heritagization; space; symbolic capital

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 0000000459469081 University of the Philippines Baguio and University of Northern Philippines

Publication date: September 1, 2019

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  • Cities have been increasingly at the forefront of debate in both humanities and social-science disciplines, but there has been relatively little dialogue across these disciplinary boundaries. Journals in social-science fields that use urban-studies methods to look at life in cities rarely explore the cultural aspects of urban life in any depth or delve into close readings of the representation of cities in individual cultural products. As a platform for interdisciplinary scholarship from any and all linguistic, cultural and geographical traditions, the Journal of Urban Cultural Studies prioritizes the urban phenomenon in order to better understand the culture(s) of cities.
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