The proceeding of a global transformation process, which on the one hand accelerates global networking in all societal fields, accentuates on the other hand the question of affiliation and self-placement on a social and individual level with the increasingly complex network of relationships. Heterogenous concepts of social cohabitation based on migration processes, cultural diversity and the dissolution of traditional commitment forms cause perpetual societal challenges by means of integration and inclusion as well as mutual and necessary relevance points. More and more frequently, cultural heritage serves as a kind of ‘resource’ to define affiliations on various levels of society or to connote homogeneity and consensus. Referring to cultural heritage is often regarded as an ambivalent process and therefore marks a focal initial point of critical reflection of the construction and negotiation processes regarding this joint project. On a local, regional or national level, for instance, cultural heritage is more frequently presented as the solution in the globalization process to prevent loss of tradition. At the same time, such instrumentalization of cultural heritage leads to new problems, such as exclusion of groups and individuals which do not comply with a widely accepted and unquestioned definition based on an economical specialized society.
This project aims at a differentiated and critical study of chances and problems ambivalent construction and acquisition processes of various cultural heritage appearances may present. The study may be considered as foundational research, which deals with the question how and under which circumstances cultural heritage can contribute to the organization of a society. Up to what extent will cultural heritage be considered as a valuable power, as a resource for societal and economic development?
The differentiated analysis of ambiguous cultural heritage negotiation processes is an essential requirement to recognize chances and capabilities as well as problems and risks of the visualization of the past. Historical, social and educational perspectives merge to a so far unique systematic survey of semantical and practical negotiation, construction and usage of cultural heritage in everyday and institutionalized communications and interactions, especially in Germany. Furthermore, the research project aims for an intensive promotion of the young scholarship, which will be realized through PhD projects concerning the planned sub-studies and via creating an interdisciplinary work environment, which includes various events and formats.