Citazione bibliografica

Wangefelt Ström, H., Lighting candles before a headless Jesus: sacred heritage, heritagized sacredness, and the many journeys between categories

  • Abstract
    (For full text in Open Access, see The overarching aim of this thesis, situated within Museology and Heritage Studies, is to investigate the different modes and devices of transfer between sacredness and heritage. The research question, 'What happens in the transfer between heritage and sacredness?', is investigated as production of sacred heritage in early modern Europe and specifically Sweden, Rome, and Venice (Part I), and as uses of the sacred as heritage in different times and contexts (Part II). The research question is investigated by applying three core analytical lenses: Time (to Part I), Uses (to Part II), and concluding by consolidating Agents to the final discussion and conclusions. The analysis draws upon Habermas and Taylor’s respective theories and concepts regarding post-secularism, and Latour’s concepts of 'agent collectives' conceptual 'imbroglios' is used to explain transfers between categories presented in Part I and II. Using a variety of sources as case studies, this study further elucidates new categories created for sacred heritage and how these adapt to new uses. This research provides an analysis of the fluidity and complexity of categories at the intersection of religion and heritage. The thesis suggests new models to apply to religious and sacred artefacts that address their classification complexity and further corresponding to religious audiences today. The thesis argues that heritage as a concept and the creation of museums, in scholarship often referred to as post-Enlightenment phenomena, can be identified already in the post- Reformation period. Further, the thesis argues that the separation of 'sacred' and 'profane' as categories in early modernity, intended to protect the sacred from profanation and harm, facilitated a secular understanding and a possibility to de-select sacredness, thereby creating sacredness as 'heritage'. A secular way of narrating and explaining religion in museums and heritage contexts was exported globally with the western museum template and the Latin Christian understanding of time and materiality. Extending the consequences of the transformations addressed in the research question into the challenges in societies today, the thesis argues that religious literacy and a post-secular competence are needed to make informed decisions for a resilient society – not least within heritage management.