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Introduction: the state and historic buildings: preserving ‘the national past’

Thatcher, Mark (2018) Introduction: the state and historic buildings: preserving ‘the national past’. Nations and Nationalism, 24 (1). pp. 22-42. ISSN 1354-5078

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Identification Number: 10.1111/nana.12372


Historic buildings are important in nationalism through their roles in building and reinforcing national identity. As part of the expanding ‘heritage industry’, they are also of growing economic and political importance. Despite their physical existence, historic buildings are ‘created’- they must be constructed as ‘historic’ through processes of choice and the attachment of significance. The state can perform these functions through policies that define and select buildings for protection, by ownership and funding, and by its uses of buildings for nationalistic purposes. Yet state actors can have good reasons- nationalistic and economic- to destroy or fail to preserve historic buildings. The paper examines why, when and how state actors pursue policies to protect historic buildings. It offers arguments about patterns of state action that part of state strategies to promote national identity and cultural nationalism.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2017 The Author. Nations and Nationalism. © ASEN/John Wiley & Sons Ltd
Divisions: Government
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Date Deposited: 29 Sep 2017 11:56
Last Modified: 31 May 2024 18:36

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