Harmonized Spaces, Dissonant Objects, Inventing Europe? Mobilizing Digital Heritage

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Technology, particularly digitization and the online availability of cultural heritage collections, provides new possibilities for creating new forms of ‘European cultural heritage’. This essay analyzes the emerging sphere of European digital heritage as a project of technological harmonization. Drawing on Andrew Barry’s concepts of technological zones, it examines the various ways in which agency and European citizenship are being reconfigured around cultural heritage. It explores the “Europeanization” of digital heritage in three areas. In the first section, it analyzes the recent agenda for digital heritage of the European Union as a harmonizing project to create a smooth space of cultural heritage. In the next sections, the development of a harmonized virtual exhibit on the history of technology in Europe forms a case study to explore processes of harmonization at the level of the web platform, and in the aesthetics of digitized objects. It argues that rather than seeking to elide the points of unevenness and ‘dissonance’ that emerge in harmonization processes, we should instead look for ways to embrace them as points of dialogue and discovery.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-315
Number of pages20
JournalCulture Unbound
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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