Building in the 'Historic Villages of Portugal': Social Processes, Practices and Agents


  • Luís Silva Universidade Nova de Lisboa


‘Historic Villages of Portugal’ is the label of a tourist network created by a local development programme applied in twelve villages located in the centro region of Portugal. This article focuses on the social processes, practices, and agents involved in heritage building within the framework of this programme. The main argument is that heritage building entails processes of protection, appropriation, and manipulation of cultural expressions for tourist consumption, following international trends on heritage and development. These processes implicate tensions, conflicts, negotiations and cooperation among those who intervene, above all political authorities, specialists in historic conservation (principally architects) the tourism sector, and local populations. Historic conservationists have a ‘monumental’ vision of heritage, which does not correspond to the ‘social’ vision of the majority of the residents in the protected spaces.


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