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Industrial Heritage in Post-Colonial Country

Info: 9369 words (37 pages) Dissertation
Published: 10th Dec 2019

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Tagged: History

2.3 A Complex Legacy: Industrial Heritage in Post-Colonial Country

Since industrial heritage became a worldwide concern, both the developed and developing countries are getting involved in this field. However, beyond all doubt, the framework and background of today’s industrial heritage concept are certainly based on the West’s industrial history, it is unrealistic to imitate or emulate the European and American practices or theories to other regions which have their own industrial culture and historical context. The heritage of industrialisation is endowed a new position or meaning to the past or the future, and this is criticised as a modernisation process within the context of Westernization. But the impress of non-West cultural diversity and creative economy through global civilisation network lead the development in the remains of industrial culture towards the next stage. The various discourses and practices of industrial heritage are accumulating out of the Western framework.

2.3.1 Category and Geography of Industrial Heritage

While TICCIH’s The Nizhny Tagil Charter for the Industrial Heritage is presented to the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) for ratification and for eventual approval by UNESCO, TICCIH classifies the Primary Fields of Interest, the Thematic Sectors of Industrial Heritage and the Thematic Studies subjects generalised as Table 2.1.

2Table 2.1 Thematic Sectors of Industrial Heritage

Primary Fields of Interest
  • Documentation and recording
  • Education and research
  • Heritage conservation
  • Industrial archaeology
  • Industrial architecture
  • Industrial museums
  • Industrial tourism
Thematic Sectors of Industrial Heritage Transportation Industry
  • Bridges
  • Canals
  • Communications
  • Marine Transport
  • Railways
Power Industry
  • Hydroelectricity and electro-chemicals
  • Energy and Power
  • Water
Heavy Industry
  • Chemicals
  • Iron and Steel
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Metallurgy
  • Mining and Collieries
Commodity Industry
  • Agricultural and food production
  • Glass
  • Leather
  • Paper
  • Textiles
  • Wood
Other Industry
  • Polar Region
  • Tourism
Thematic Studies subjects
  • Agriculture and Food Production
  • Communications
  • Global/Local Group
  • Hydroelectricity and Electrochemical Industry
  • Metallurgy
  • Mining and Collieries
  • Railways
  • Textiles
  • Tourism

Source: TICCIH, http://ticcih.org/about/directory/


In most European countries, industrial heritage is seen as instruments of urban regeneration because they were supposed to support the specific identity of the place (Pinson, 2009). Not only was heritage defined as important to the development of tourism, but history also had important ideological functions. On the one hand, history makes it possible to impose a political and urban order. On the other hand, it offers arguments for resisting the destruction of a building or part of a city. According to the examples of Britain and France (Rautenberg, 2011), a common will to transform the industrial heritage rather than destroy it can be noted, express a collective identity in the artefacts of past industrial glory, make different types of actors work together under the ambiguous protective wing of the state.

Increasingly, restoring and exploiting former industrial sites for touristic purposes is regarded as a useful strategy for regional renewal. Since the developed industrial regions in Europe have entered a spiral of decline, those very regions that were the forerunners of the Industrial Revolution had to give way to new areas of growth in the European economy especially those that were specialised in textiles, coal, steel and other heavy industries which have suffered from structural problems, due to cheaper labours in the rising economies, such as India, China and the Southeast Asian countries. The Ruhr area, north-eastern England and Wales are prominent examples of regions where local governments have pursued such restructuring policies with varying degrees of success (Hassink, 1993; Cooke, 1995; Hospers, 2002).

However, these policies are not the only strategies used to rejuvenate local economies. Industrial heritage tourism, this relatively new form of tourism is viewed as a helpful tool for regional restructuring (Harris, 1989; Goodall, 1994; Edwards and Llurdés, 1996). The ‘industrial culture’, refers to “the development of touristic activities and industries on man-made sites, buildings and landscapes that originated with industrial processes of earlier periods (Edwards and Llurdés, 1996: 342)”. In the Europe, the policy-makers are also interested in the development of industrial tourist activities. For example, the project of ERIH has been financed largely out of European funds. The general expectation is that ultimately these new forms of tourism developed around industrial monuments were aimed to play an important role in revitalising industrial regions, thus helping them to build a better economic future (Hospers, 2002).

The roots of industrial heritage tourism can be found in the UK, the ‘birthplace of the Industrial Revolution’ where the decline in manufacturing started earlier than in the rest of Europe. In this country, the relics of the period of industrialisation were already explored after World War II. Gradually, the interest in what was called ‘industrial archaeology’ spilt over to other stagnating industrial areas in Europe. In the 1980s the concept of industrial heritage tourism was occasionally propagated and applied as a strategy of regional restructuring (Soyez, 1986; Harris, 1989). During the 1990s, however, industrial heritage potential was highlighted widely. This was mainly due to experiences with industrial heritage tourism in the Ruhr area which culminated in the opening of a complete regional Route of Industrial Heritage in 1999. On this scenic route, tourists can visit 19 important settlements representing the industrial history in coal and steel. These anchor points are connected and can be reached by different forms of public transport. Besides, visitors can explore 25 thematic routes in the region, such as a tour around the theme local railways. This Ruhr Tour programme was set up by the Emscher Park International Building Exhibition (IBA) (1989–1999) and is currently managed by the local government, the Ruhr District Association of Communities (KVR). The studies (Kilper and Wood, 1995; Knapp, 1998; Parent, 2000) suggest that this localised industrial culture policy may have contributed to the success of local innovation policy towards structural change in the Ruhr area. Inspired by the above examples, more and more regions in Europe have turned to industrial heritage tourism as an additional restructuring device.

“Initiatives in this field often emerge from private associations for industrial heritage whose plans are funded by regional, national and European authorities” (Goodall, cited in Hospers, 2002: 399). Likewise, programmes have been launched in this way for example in Overijssel (the Netherlands), West Flanders (Belgium), V ölklingen (Germany), Steyr (Austria), Telford (UK), Catalonia (Spain), Crotone (Italy) and Lorraine (France) etc. By adopting industrial heritage tourism, it may improve a region’s image and function as a public relations tool to counteract public prejudices of industrial areas in decline (Harris, 1989; Mansfield, 1992; Goodall, 1994). The result of these efforts leads to the establishment of ERIH, a route starting in Ironbridge (UK) and ending in the Ruhr area (Hospers, 2002). Obviously, all regions that apply some strategy of industrial heritage tourism have experienced a different path of historical development. As such, each of them disposes of a unique set of industrial monuments that can be used for recreational activities. Nevertheless, in the European context, some general categories of industrial tourist attractions may be distinguished (Edwards and Llurdés, 1996; Soyez, 2009; Hospers, 2002; Xie, 2015). The first group comprises industrial relics in the field of production and processing. These attractions are rather popular among visitors and include numerous sites located underground (mines) or on the earth’s surface (e.g. plants, blast furnaces and shipping yards). Often these workplaces have been restored and transformed into museums demonstrating the history of industrial occupations. Some abandoned industrial sites provide tourists also with other amusement, such as films, concerts and catering. In other cases, however, “industrial monuments are neglected consciously with the aim to show visitors the aesthetics of de-industrialization” (Edwards and Llurdés, cited in Hospers, 2002: 399). Transport attractions make up the second group of industrial tourist attractions. They refer to industrial legacies in the field of rail, water and roads aiming to give the visitors a nostalgic or novel transport experience. The third category consists of socio-cultural attractions associated with a region’s particular industrial past. Here, examples are former working-class houses and employers’ estates.

In a 1972 International Treaty adopted by UNESCO members sought to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity. Some of these sites are included on the UNESCO list because of engineering feats such as bridges, canals, irrigation systems, aqueducts, railways, mines, ironworks, resource extraction and so on. Until 2017, there are 68 industrial heritage sites, centres and landscapes have been designated as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO since 1978 (Table 2.2) which are classified unequally by region as most Industrial World Heritage Sites are found in the Europe.

3Table 2.2 Industrial Heritage Sites in UNESCO World Heritage List

No. Industrial Heritage Site Nation Year of Inscription
Wieliczka Salt Mine Poland 1978
Historic Town of Ouro Preto Brazil 1980
Røros Mining Town and the Circumference Norway 1980, extended 2010
From the Great Saltworks of Salins-les-Bains to the Royal Saltworks of Arc-et-Senans, the Production of Open-pan Salt France 1982, extended 2009
Pont du Gard (Roman Aqueduct) France 1985
Old Town of Segovia and its Aqueduct Spain 1985
Ironbridge Gorge, England United Kingdom 1986
Hanseatic City of Lübeck, Germany 1987
City of Potosí (Silver Mining) Bolivia 1987
Historic Town of Guanajuato and Adjacent Mines Mexico 1988
Mines of Rammelsberg, Historic Town of Goslar and Upper Harz Water Management System Germany 1992, extended 2010
Engelsberg Ironworks Sweden 1993
Historic Centre of Zacatecas (Silver Mining) Mexico 1993
Historic Town of Banská Štiavnica and the Technical Monuments in its Vicinity Slovakia 1993
Völklingen Ironworks Germany 1994
Hanseatic Town of Visby Sweden 1995
Canal du Midi France 1996
Mill Network at Kinderdijk-Elshout Netherlands 1997
Ir.D.F. Woudagemaal (D.F. Wouda Steam Pumping Station) Netherlands 1998
Semmering Railway Austria 1998
The Four Lifts on the Canal du Centre and their Environs, La Louvière and Le Roeulx (Hainaut) Belgium 1998
Blaenavon Industrial Landscape, Wales United Kingdom 2000
Neolithic Flint Mines at Spiennes (Mons) Belgium 2000
Derwent Valley Mills, England United Kingdom 2001
Mining Area of the Great Copper Mountain in Falun Sweden 2001
New Lanark, Scotland United Kingdom 2001
Saltaire, England United Kingdom 2001
Historic Quarter of the Seaport City of Valparaíso Chile 2003
Dresden Elbe Valley Germany 2004, delisted 2009
Liverpool – Maritime Mercantile City, England United Kingdom 2004
Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works Chile 2005
Aflaj Irrigation Systems of Oman Oman 2006
Agave Landscape and Ancient Industrial Facilities of Tequila Mexico 2006
Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape, England United Kingdom 2006
Sewell Mining Town Chile 2006
Vizcaya Bridge Spain 2006
Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine and its Cultural Landscape Japan 2007
Rideau Canal Canada 2007
Rhaetian Railway in the Albula / Bernina Landscapes Italy, Switzerland 2008
La Chaux-de-Fonds / Le Locle, Watchmaking Town Planning Switzerland 2009
Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal, Wales United Kingdom 2009
Seventeenth-century canal ring area of Amsterdam inside the Singelgracht Netherlands 2010
Coffee Cultural Landscape of Colombia Colombia 2011
Fagus Factory in Alfeld Germany 2011
Heritage of Mercury. Almadén and Idrija Slovenia, Spain 2012
Major Mining Sites of Wallonia Belgium 2012
Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin France 2012
Pearling, Testimony of an Island Economy Bahrain 2012
Levuka Historical Port Town Fiji 2013
Cultural Landscape of Honghe Hani Rice Terraces China 2013
Red Bay Basque Whaling Station Canada 2013
Qhapaq Ñan, Andean Road System Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru 2014
The Grand Canal China 2014
Silk Roads: the Routes Network of Chang’an-Tianshan Corridor China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan 2014
Tomioka Silk Mill and Related Sites Japan 2014
Van Nellefabriek Netherlands 2014
Speicherstadt and Kontorhaus District with Chilehaus Germany 2015
Champagne hillsides, houses and cellars France 2015
Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution: Iron and Steel, Shipbuilding and Coal Mining Japan 2015
Aqueduct of Padre Tembleque Hydraulic System Mexico 2015
Rjukan–Notodden Industrial Heritage Site Norway 2015
The Forth Bridge United Kingdom 2015
Fray Bentos Cultural-Industrial Landscape Uruguay 2015
The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier, an Outstanding Contribution to the Modern Movement (La Manufacture à Saint- Dié) France 2016
The Persian Qanat Iran 2016
Valongo Wharf Archaeological Site (Dock) Brazil 2017
Historic Silver Mine in Tarnowskie Góry Poland 2017
Lake District United Kingdom 2017

Source: UNESCO World Heritage List, http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/

The impact of colonialism in respect of industrial heritage can be deduced from analysis of those countries that have sites listed with TICCIH (Table 2.3). Up to 2016, there are 44 countries so listed, and 23 (marked in bold) of them were directly or indirectly ruled by the ‘Colonial West’ and imperialist countries, such as the Empire of Japan. Furthermore, 16 (marked with an asterisk) of these former colonies experienced colonial industrialisation during that time (Table 2.3). Since the mid-eighteenth century, these concepts of a world of nation-states, coupled with the coming of modernity, the Scientific Revolution, and the Industrial Revolution, produced powerful political and economic institutions that have come to influence (or been imposed upon) most nations of the world today. This process of influence (and imposition) began with the voyages of discovery, colonisation, conquest, and exploitation of Spain and Portugal; continued with the rise of the Dutch East India Company, and the creation and expansion of colonialism including the British and French empires. The newly independent nation, the United States, in this context, could be regarded, in a very real sense, as the world’s first post-colonial industrial nation (Cossons, 2012: 11). Ultimately, the United States was to go on to become the world’s leading industrial power by the first half of the twentieth century (Smith and Martello, 2010). Due to the reach of these empires, imperial legacy expanded throughout the world. Even after demands for self-determination from subject peoples within the colonial empires were met with decolonization, post-colonialism, and the colonial heritage persisted.

4Table 2.3 The Industrial Heritage Country List of TICCIH

America Europe Asia
  1. Canada*
  2. USA
  3. Argentina
  4. Brazil
  5. Chile
  6. Colombia
  7. Mexico
  8. Peru
  9. Uruguay
  1. Austria
  2. Belgium
  3. Croatia
  4. The Czech Republic*
  5. Denmark
  6. Estonia*
  7. Finland
  8. France
  9. Germany
  10. Greece
  11. Hungary*
  12. Ireland*
  13. Italy
  1. Latvia*
  2. Netherlands
  3. Norway
  4. Poland*
  5. Portugal
  6. Romania*
  7. Russia
  8. Slovenia
  9. Spain
  10. Sweden
  11. Switzerland
  12. United Kingdom
  1. China*
  2. India*
  3. Iran*
  4. Japan
  5. Taiwan*
  6. Turkey
  1. Australia*
  1. Egypt*
  2. Morocco*
  3. South Africa*
Total 44

BOLD = Former Colonised Countries

*     = Colonial Industrialisation

Source: TICCIH website, http://ticcih.org/about/countries/

According to the statistics of The International Committee for the Conservation (TICCHI) and UNESCO, Industrial Heritage is much more concentrated in Europe and the colonisation is quite a few mentioned in the field as well, however, excluding European states, American and Japan, the industrial culture and mills began in most rest regions are contributed undeniably by the colonialism and imperialism. The post-colonial societies were made to form nation-states (in the Western/ Colonist tradition), which often struggled the boundaries and borders that did not necessarily represent a whole nation, people, or culture, and are often the cause of identity crisis and domestic friction even to these days. Though the overt colonial era has passed, the former imperial nations, as comparatively hegemonic, well-developed, and culturally powerful states, still wield a large degree of influence throughout the post-colonial countries (Loomba, 2005; Ashcroft et al., 2007). Hence, as to the conservation practice and theory of industrial heritage running in these developing countries, it is not only able to extend the relationship to worldwide industrialising traces but to explore the value of cultural heritage through post-colonial perspective and shape the clear national identity for the generations. Industrial heritage is more than about the machine, it is also about the life, survival, and the recounting of workers’ stories about resistance to exploitation, the context of colonial industrialisation in particular. These regionally, nationally, and internationally recognised spaces preserved by government agencies are places to remember, and memorialise (Shackel and Palus, 2006). These industrial heritage sites consist of the remains of industrial culture which are of historical, technological, social, architectural or scientific value as well as the mixed atmospheres of exotic and local (including aboriginal) lifestyles.

2.3.2 The Post-industrial Context of Industrial Heritage

Significantly, there is a Euro-centred phenomenon of industrial heritage at present. Though the industrial archaeological evidence can be dated back to the medieval time or before then, the West Europe, as the origin of Industrial Revolution, is no doubt doing preservation and conservation of industrial culture earlier than other areas. The arrival of the steam engine added force to romantic visual imagery and, for those with the imagination, opened up an incredible future. Thereafter, within the industrialisation age, it contributed a large number of first modern industrial buildings, factories, and lifestyles, with its rapid development in the Western countries. By the 1970s, the West saw falling levels of capital investment which raised the spectre of outright deindustrialization as the new technology replaced dated modes of industrial production.  With the post-industrial society coming, the authorities started to consider the re-use or re-built projects and endowing cultural signs of these industrial mills through heritagization of an industrial site.

Nostalgia has been a factor in generating audiences for industrial heritage – ways of coping with social change, for instance, the Spanish industrial heritage in re-shaping place identity (Del Pozo and González, 2012), the German industrial museums’ engagement with representation the labour history (Kift, 2011) and the promotion of Japan’s Meiji industrial heritage to the public (Hashimoto and Telfer, 2017). As Shurmer-Smith and Hannam (cited in Hannam and Knox, 2010: 141) referred:

we can see the influence of a more pervasive heritage industry at work around the world with an increasing number of tourist attractions centred on the social construction of various traditions of one kind or another.

With the dynamics of heritage in a post-industrial world, industrial heritage becomes a rising resource for tourism and its expectation and activity which much more about producing an engaging, stimulating and enjoyable commercial encounter is certainly different from traditional heritage. Also, in recent decades, when ideas of heritage and identity are being seen as both made and malleable in the western society (Anderson, 1983; Hobsbawm and Ranger, 1983; Kaplan, 1996), it is important to explore how the industrial past has been mobilised in the re-formulation of identities and the group memory of local people. In some cases, industrial sites have been re-used as museums or culture parks/ clusters for a regional regeneration or urban revival purpose. Meanwhile, abstracted mechanical imagery became a powerful strand in the arts, and the excitement of what came to be called the Machine Age was forcefully conveyed, sometimes doubling as an apt metaphor for political and social comment. Following the contextual discourse, Darley (2003: 36) suggested:

industrial heritage toward a generation of photographers, filmmakers and artists, including Paul Strand, Charles Sheeler, Eisenstein and Fernand Leger, borrowed their subject matter from the landscape and technology of the manufacturing process and invested it with a new and intense visual presence.

The extended application of the category of heritage to new objects, such as industrial vestiges or expressions of collective memory, has been the most important cultural phenomenon of the last three decades of the twentieth century. It can be seen as one expression of the rise of a contemporary regime of historicity (Koselleck, 2005; Hartog, 2005, 2016) that was characterised by heritage which replaced memory as a mode of viewing the past that stood in contrast to history. The cross-generational industrialisation had a substantial impact on the ongoing cultural changes, in consequence, industrial culture being presented by the development of contemporary aesthetic, economic regeneration, labour narratives, architecture, technology and science which is not only the group memory of local community but a re-imagination of the place toward the visitors.

However, in the developed countries, the first generation industrial heritage sites need to move forward and re-activate to face the competition from the mass media, attractions, other cultural/ creative institutions and rising heritage places. Additionally, “the impact of the West’s industrial revolution extended well beyond work and leisure, family life, and basic forms of labour protest” said by Stearns (2012: 87). These social alterations forced the culture to change as well. Many artists and writers turned against the ugliness of the industrial setting, such as romantic painters early in the nineteenth century concentrated on idyllic scenes of nature in part to contrast with the blight of factory cities.

2.3.3 Colonial Industrialisation: Colonialism and Modernisation

After the Industrial Revolution, by the 1850s a major transition was taking place as newly created public institutions began to take over the lead from private individuals in collecting and displaying the past. Colonial expansion was still in progress by the 1850s and would continue until 1939 and beyond. Including various countries, principally Britain, France, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Russia, USA and Japan, were involved in an unprecedented period of expansion that saw a large proportion of the world come under their administration and control. To give the examples of the colonising nation, Britain had colonised Canada, controlled India, formally taken over the Cape Colony at the tip of South Africa and declared Australia to be a colony, following with joining other European nations in competing to acquire more African territory from the 1880s. Also, France retained some Caribbean islands, and to acquire territories in South-East Asia, the Indian Ocean and Oceania. France was highly competitive with Britain in Africa, occupying North African territory from 1830 and extending down West and Central Africa by 1900. In Asia, at the height of its power by 1942, the Empire of Japan also proceed its industrialisation model over its territories nearly whole East Asia including Taiwan, Korea, North-East China, Inner Mongolia and all region of South-East Asia.

Industrialisation accompanied colonialism and imperialism, the development of modernisation in the West was propagated to Asia, Africa and elsewhere in the world through the global trade market and colonialism expansion. Within the international context, several regional reactions to the industrial revolution took shape. There was a heightened exploitation of nonindustrial areas by the hegemonic industrial economies. Simultaneously, interest in expanding imperialism increased because of a desire to monopolise potential markets in Africa and Asia (mainly the post-colonial countries), and to insulate these markets against growing international competition. Europe’s age of empire is also one part of the world developing better technologies and organisation than most of the rest of it. Africa was more fully drawn into the process of supplying foods and raw materials to slake the need of industrial Europe. Japan began exploiting raw materials areas in Southeast Asia. Europe, but particularly the United States, increased the use of Latin America as a source of cheap supplies. As well as several societies within the British Commonwealth developed the extensive industry, including India, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Thus, along with the growing international impact of the industrial revolution, different regional responses generated an increasing complexity among the world’s economy and geopolitics. In the Asia, Taiwan is also one of the examples by experiencing the changing international relationship between its neighbouring countries, particularly with China and Japan, in which the various situations always reflected upon Taiwan’s industrial heritage discourse.

The process of colonialism can be seen to have created not only the political and economic boundaries of the modern world but also its cultural and national characteristics. It is, as Edward Said (1978) claims, a form of power which gives authority to the possessor of knowledge. Accordingly, the global export of Western intellectual hierarchies through the processes of colonialism largely explains the success of western values about what objects of heritage could be and who would take responsibility for understanding them (West and Ansell, 2010: 32). Although such ideas are still being debated by historians, it is possible to argue that the process of colonialism essentially created the modern world as we know it as well as modern ideas of nationalism and culture that underlie the entire mission of contemporary cultural heritage management. Dirks (1992) observed colonialism encouraged and facilitated new claims of this kind, re-creating colonist countries and their colonies through its histories of conquest and rule. Also, AlSayyad (2001) discussed that the tradition relates to the cultural continuity of generations and heritage is intermediary to the continuance of meaning, tradition, and values. Hence, in a post-colonial country, the past requires not only a sense of ownership but a sense of permission associated with its consumption, creation and propagation as it relates to national identity.

The above discussions might improve the understanding of the place of industrial heritage in the post-colonial societies and the dynamics and demands of its conservation. The nation as a subject and the concepts of nationalism, anti-colonialism, identity, modernisation, and de-colonization that provided the frame for national narratives are all constructs that are being contested and rethought. The industrial heritage at a colonial perspective provides a new approach to the study of power, collective identity, culture, and modes of representation have opened an entire field of heritage studies. In one sense at least, postcolonial nations seek to destroy, cover or re-interpret the artificial tradition imposed by the closure historical narratives create in ‘ending’ colonialism after World War II and beginning a new era of nation-states. Employing the postcolonial lens into industrial heritage might be useful for understanding continuities and causal relationships between the forces acting during the colonial era and the social, political, and cultural experience of postcolonial nations.

2.3.4 Constructing and Consuming Heritage beyond the Industrial Past

In order to re-explore and represent the shifting values of industrial legacy, the context of industrial heritage has to be examined not only as a regional concept but as the individual theme and within its global context. Industrial heritage, as a newly built universal agenda, is facing the challenge of including the developing countries but also exploring their individual characteristics and perspectives. Colonialism and post-colonialism should be seen not only as for issues relating to the post-colonial countries but also as issues that have influenced the nature of industrial heritage and its politics globally. All of us—as individuals, as nations, as ethnic and other entities—adapt the past to our presumed advantage. Such acts, Lowenthal (2005: 87) insists, “undeniably deform history for (industrial) heritage aims; and heritage is further corrupted by being popularised, commoditized, and politicized”.

Unlike the West, most developing nations dropped into the global agenda of industrial heritage to tackle the practice and management issues with less sufficient exploration to their own particular context of industrial culture and characteristics. These rising countries are undergoing unprecedented growth and the colonial cities such as Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore are in danger of losing their heritage in the rush towards modernisation and urbanisation. The process is also apparent in other South Asian capitals, like Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta where the experience of colonisation and dealing with its legacy comes into play for countries on the road to nationhood and full development status. In addition, Bossen (2000) reported that governments of independent nations have used touristic representations to foster nationalism. Scholars (Johnson, 1995; Palmer, 1999; Light, 2001; Pretes, 2003) have mentioned that the promotion of heritage sites, including industrial heritage, is important in the construction of national identity as the viewing of heritage sites by domestic tourists offer glances of a nation’s past. And there are some cases of colonial industrial sites that have refocused on tourism: Potosí (Bolivia), Kimberley (South Africa), Dawson (Canada), and Ballarat (Australia). While visiting these heritage sites, people of that nation understand who they are and where they have come from (Palmer, 1999: 315).

Some industrial heritage sites built by the colonists during the late nineteenth and the early twentieth century are renewed or revitalised by being tourist attractions or entertainment and shopping centres. Tourism is not just an aggregate of merely commercial activities; it is also an ideological framing of history, nature and tradition; a framing that has the power to reshape culture and nature to its own needs (MacCannell, 1992; Desmond, 1999). The colonial industrial heritage, used to be a place to make products, is currently as the space for producing a certain narrative or ideology and its colonial legacy is manifest in many of the structures and practices of tourism as well (Aitchison et al., 2000). Using Foucault’s (1979) concepts of power and power relations as well as the problematic of space and place in relation to sociocultural constructs, postcolonial research as a constituent part of the cultural turn shows an appreciation of the complex nature of spatiality. In (industrial) heritage tourism, the cultural turn has effectively demonstrated that tourism and spaces, places, and landscapes act as sites of social inclusion/exclusion whose status is always in constant transition (Davis, 2001 and Urry, 1995). King (2003) emphasises the need to pay attention to the material properties of space as these convey the makings of both colonialism and post-colonialism. As soon as industrial landscapes are constructed, they become contested, disrupted, and transformed (Aitchison et al., 2000:19). Continuous, dialectical struggles of power and resistance among and between industrial heritage providers, users, and mediators transform these spaces, which in turn affect their creators and users.

The debate surrounding the role of tourism in the renegotiation and dissemination of history has gained much importance recently due to the increased realisation that contested identities account for the world’s most critical national and international conflicts. Although several scholars (Hewison, 1987 and Walsh, 1990) have undermined the importance of heritage tourism and argued that heritage is a kind of bogus history; others (Ashworth, 1994; Johnson, 1995; O’Connor, 1993; Palmer, 1999; Peleggi, 1996; Pretes, 2003) have argued that heritage tourism may be important in creating national identity. Industrial heritage in post-colonial states is also culturally related and comparative, it can be represented by different purposes in various ways and reflect the official socio-political ideologies. Accordingly, as Lowenthal (2005:165) claimed:

looking at tourism industry representations is also important because heritage fabricated by the media often seems more real because it is more familiar than the original.

2.4 A Post-modern Context: Tourism, Commercialism, Nationalism

The modern period witnessed the replacement of traditional forms of memory by ‘sites of memory’(Nora, 1989; Atkinson, 2008), that is, specific places where both formal and popular memories are produced, negotiated and take root. Partly following on these concerns and processes—when memory attaches itself to places—a growing number of scholars (Lowenthal, Graham, cited in Atkinson, 2005: 141) has been attempting to understand how heritage, seen not as a single story, but as plural versions of the past socially constructed in the present, and heritage sites, are increasingly mobilised as important cultural, political and economic resources in our contemporary world. Landof (2010) concludes Storm’s arguing in Hope and Rust: Reinterpreting the Industrial Place in the Late 20th Century:

the significance of industrial heritage, until relatively recently, has presented a unique problem for those who recognise the role that industrial culture has played, and continues to play, in the shaping of national and regional identities…The currency of the industrial past in post-industrial societies, the relative ordinariness, complexity and wealth of evidence still in existence, and the lack of a strong theoretically supported research agenda have all challenged a universal recognition of industrial heritage.

No longer needing to justify its brutish appearance and course demeanour, industrial heritage has turned from an ugly duckling into a fashionable, if rather an ungainly swan. Former docklands, rail yards and textile mills now underpin strategies for urban renewal while the legacy of mining and industry is playing a vital role, consciously or unconsciously, in defining local and national identities. While accepting that there are eco-political agendas attached to the re-use of industrial heritage sites, criticism and debate have moved to consider the thorny question of whose culture is being represented and why.

The historical relations of power and domination between coloniser and colonised produced, and were produced by, a perception of the colonial subject as other to the West or the colonist power (Said, 1978; Harrison and Hughes, 2010). Within the context of a heritage frameworks, consideration of industrial heritage in conjunction with the institutions of settler and postcolonial nations, have ensured that this official discourse about what heritage is and can be used for is now effectively global (West, 2010: 2). Colonial Industrial Heritage is, as Benton’s (2010: 2) claim:

at issue is not only which cultural traditions and their associated artefacts and places should be conserved, but which version of the past should be commemorated – a matter of particular potency in postcolonial societies in which the legacy of colonial government and struggles for independence continue to have an effect on subsequent generations.

International tourism is frequently accused of being a vehicle for neo-colonisation by using capitalism, globalization and cultural imperialism to influence a developing country through the perpetuation of inequalities and inequities (Britton, 1982; Morgan and Pritchard, 1998; Mowforth and Hunt, 1998). The tourism industry is criticised for its treatment of heritage as a marketable product, resulting in commodification and excessive commercialisation (Hewison, 1987). The work of scholars (Erisman, 1983; English, 1986 and Crick, 1988) supports these conclusions about the links between tourism, power, dominance and authority. Such theories frequently make reference to the arguments of Said (1978) who has written more generally of Orientalism as an intellectual tradition based on assumptions of European-Atlantic superiority, symbolising the power and domination of the West over the Orient. Heritage tourism is not, therefore, concerned only with preserving the remains of the past for visitor enjoyment, but also about contemporary struggles for power and the concept of nationhood.

Both dissonance and convergence occur when different heritage discourses meet and are entangled. Some studies have extended this agenda by exposing, undermining and complicating simplistic readings of places and their posts (Atkinson, 2005), connecting these to wider transnational spatial processes, and questioning significant geographical categories of belonging and difference. Heritage sites as nodes where ‘dissonant heritages’ of different social groups collide, and explored the possibilities of a more inclusive and plural heritage in multicultural societies (Tunbridge and Ashworth, 1996; Graham, Ashworth and Tunbridge, 2000). Colonial societies thus have a potentially ‘dissonant heritage’ (Tunbridge and Ashworth, 1996) but also dealing with it means addressing the question ‘whose heritage?’ which “clouds the conservation and marketing of urban heritage in all formerly colonial societies seeking to exploit the tourism markets of their former masters” (Ashworth and Tunbridge, 1990: 55). Part of this dissonance occurs because heritage requires narration to residents as well as tourists. Hence, heritage has also become an economic, social and political tool now, for example, heritage conservation in post-colonial Hong Kong has been used as an implement by the relatively powerless residents and NGO members to fight against the powerful private property owners and the government, and by the relatively poor to fight against the rich (Lu, 2009).

However, the increasingly popular technique of adapting buildings for contemporary usage has generated some confusion about the meanings of conservation and the outcome of implementation. It is important to distinguish between terms and activities such as preservation, restoration, reconstruction and adaptive reuse or rehabilitation in order to maintain the integrity of the site and avoid misunderstandings about authenticity that can devalue the visitor experience. At the same time, economic imperatives have to be acknowledged and efforts made to render these compatible with conservation interests; this is a major challenge facing all those involved in heritage tourism. In some cases, industrial heritage is occupied by the official government and represent national authority while others continue to function as manufacture plants or are now museums, or become new commercial potentials. They may remain rooted in the past and retain a quality of exclusivity, but this is dictated by affordability rather than power relations within colonial society, and public areas are open to all. Together, the industrial buildings are seen as repositories of the country’s heritage in the story of national history. Thus, colonial heritage has been claimed by the government and the resident population and is being employed by them to define and assert national identity, to attract tourists and for pragmatic reasons of practical necessity.

The value of (industrial) heritage in helping all communities and their members to comprehend and appreciate how they arrived at their current situation and perhaps assist them in coping with future trials is a persuasive argument in favour of its conservation (Palmer, 1999). Harrison and Hughes (2010:239) points out “the indigenous challenge to colonialism and to the methods of cultural heritage management in colonial countries has been influential in drawing attention to the politics of ownership and control of the past, as well as to the state’s use of heritage to establish various legal fictions which allow for the ongoing moral occupation of settler colonies”. One might assume that after colonialism the natural reaction would be to establish more inclusive forms of heritage that reflect the complex ethnic and cultural mix of postcolonial state. However, the opposite has often been the cases, for example, Indonesia (Kusno, 2000), Singapore (Henderson, 2001), India (Bandyopadhyay, 2008) and Zimbabwe (Marschall, 2008), which as the need to establish a national identity as a post-colony has led to the suppression of complex, alternative or competing histories and heritage.


2.5 Conclusion

Industrial heritage serves many purposes and is a form of social, economic and political capital, which can be expanded in various ways by assorted parties. It has a role in defining and symbolising a people’s identity, which can be felt and understood at a group and national level. Lowenthal (1998: xv) proposes that “heritage clarifies pasts so as to infuse them with present purposes”. While McDowell (2008: 43) observes “heritage is a highly politicized process that is subject to contestation and bound up in the construction, reconstruction and deconstruction of memory and identity…” Memory always represents a struggle over power and is thus implicated in the ‘who decides?’ questions about the future. An important role of advocates of heritage is to reconceptualise certain artefacts, buildings and landscapes as treasures and hence worth saving, often for the benefit of the nation. Deckha (2004) argues that conservation produces rather than reflects heritage and, as Laurajane Smith (2006: 3) asserts “heritage is heritage because it is subjected to the management and preservation/ conservation process, not because it simply ‘is’.” For industrial heritage, this process does not just ‘find’ sites and places to manage and protect. It is itself a constitutive cultural process that identifies those things and places that can be given meaning and value as heritage, reflecting contemporary cultural and social values, debates and aspirations.

During the twentieth century, the notion of industrial heritage as a source of national identity was so successfully institutionalised in numerous legislative acts and organisations that the public participation in heritage became dependent on the presence of very complex skills. The political elites, in fact, saw colonial heritage as an obstacle to national development; the emerging nation, therefore, had to be given the past that was singular, rich and sovereign, and in keeping with the political project of the modern nation-state. The knowledge and institutions produced as a result of (post-) colonial heritage legislation encoded particular ideologies regarding the aesthetic valuing of natural landscapes and the placement of different indigenous people in nature–culture continuum. This form of social engineering also shows that ‘legacies’ can be drawn from different pasts and, conversely, they can in their turn become ‘pasts’.

The idea of heritage has been widely seen to have its roots in eighteenth-century Europe and is associated with the concepts of modernity and the territorial nation-state. Such national politics require national heritages for numerous reasons, including claiming legitimacy through fostering a shared national identity and culture among the populace through identification with a shared history and landscape (Lowenthal, 1995; Graham, Ashworth and Tunbridge, 2000). Heritage has, therefore, long been a concern of national governments, not least through the introduction of legislation designated to protect, conserve and interpret ancient and historical monuments, ‘natural’ heritage landscapes, portable antiquities and artworks, and more recently, intangible heritage ‘for the nation’. Despite its significant role in the politics of nation-building, a robust scholarly work with the idea of heritage in a colonial context is still in developing. It is appropriate, therefore, that we begin by considering how, in the Western imperial context, ideologies relating to national heritage—both cultural and natural—were not just extended but developed in a colonial context, and how they have been subsequently redefined and reconstituted in the post-colonial era. From a nineteenth century romantic antiquarianism drawn to the ruins of a lost civilisation, “we can see the growth in the status of scientific disciplines of archaeology and palaeontology and natural history in the colonies, and an equivalent diffusion of heritage legislation” said by Damodaran, (2013: 2).

A colonial heritage could distort institutions as a result of a coloniser choosing a colonisation strategy contingent upon whether or not a settlement by members of the colonisers home country is possible (Price, 2003). In recent decades there has been a growing unease in Asia about the applicability of philosophies and practices of cultural conservation imported from the west, as notably enshrined in the Nara Document on Authenticity (ICOMOS, 1994). The particular qualities of colonial heritage have been explored in some places as diverse as London and Australia, South Africa, Singapore, other Asian centres and Delhi (Jacobs, 1996; Tunbridge, 1984; Yeoh, 1996; Shaw and Jones, 1997; King, 1976). Such locations have to deal with the legacy of the colonial past and how to present it, responses ranging from degrees of acceptance to marginalisation and outright rejection with the possibility of destruction of the built environment (Western, 1985; AlSayyad, 2001; Logan, 2002). Buildings (but there is lack of industrial heritage case study) that remain no longer embody the authority and superiority of the colonial power and tangible heritage must be redefined to have a contemporary value and function (Southall, 1971; UNESCO, 1999). Understanding and managing the colonial experience is a critical task for many independent countries and one that confronts former imperial powers. However, especially the former Japanese colonies in Asia, the legacy of colonialism and the formative years of international conservation policy after World War II remain rarely apparent in contemporary institutionalised approaches to heritage studies. More specifically, industrial heritage, as an emergent discourse of difference has sought legitimacy through claims that the Asian region is materially, culturally and historically different to the west. In broad terms, it is a discourse that asserts there are different historical and philosophical perspectives towards authenticity, spirituality and historical significance, and that recognition should be given to culturally specific ways of reading or valuing landscape.

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