Handbook on the Economics of Cultural Heritage
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Handbook on the Economics of Cultural Heritage

Edited by Ilde Rizzo and Anna Mignosa

Cultural heritage is a complex and elusive concept, constantly evolving through time, and combining cultural, aesthetic, symbolic, spiritual, historical and economic values. The Handbook on the Economics of Cultural Heritage outlines the contribution of economics to the design and analysis of cultural heritage policies and to addressing issues related to the conservation, management and enhancement of heritage.
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Chapter 4: Demand for cultural heritage

Victoria Ateca Amestoy


The concept of cultural heritage has experienced a process of extension during the past few decades. Because it is a cultural construction, it is subject to differences in appreciation based on contextual and institutional factors (Hutter and Rizzo, 1997; Peacock, 1998). Social consensus has established that there are elements of cultural capital that deserve protection. Therefore, institutional arrangements, including conventions and legal categories, have been developed to ensure preservation and transmission of that legacy from the past (even the recent past) to future generations. The increase in the number of cultural assets that contemporary societies considered to be elements of their cultural heritage can be attributed to two main factors: administrative processes linked to preservation policies that rely on additions, such that new single elements are added each day, and to the consideration of new categories and typologies (Benhamou, 1996, 2011; Vecco, 2010). The first of these processes is related to supply arguments. The second process is related to demand driven arguments: a demand for the extension of typologies; the close association between heritage elements in an integral approach and the contexts of the heritage elements; the shift in selection criteria from objective criteria (such as the traditional historic and artistic values) to subjective and broader criteria (Vecco, 2010); and the increasing importance of immaterial categories.

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