Fields of study
Different types of heritage related to biodiversity and territories are studied by anthropologists, archaeologists, ecologists, geographers, museologists and specialists from other disciplines, who make up the team and who generally work in a multidisciplinary mode where their approaches are combined. The work of the UMR is of interest to all those involved in heritage-making processes in the South: local communities as well as regional and national administrations, international bodies, NGOs, private actors, etc.
Missions and partnership
The UMR, present on all continents, offers a research, training and expertise that can meet the missions of its supervisory bodies. It is committed to a partnership mechanism that involves contractual cooperation with a wide variety of stakeholders, and the establishment of coordinated partnership instruments (LMI and PPR).
Organization and activities
It is structured in three thematic axes and a transversal axis devolved to the reflections and collective actions: two research seminars, several scientific workshops, operations of museum valorization and conservation of the collections. PALOC is also involved in the promotion of research results, in the teaching and training of students from North and South, and in activities related to collections.
What is a local heritage?
Local heritage concerns a great diversity of biological and cultural objects, with material and immaterial dimensions strongly intertwined: territories, sites, biodiversity, languages, monuments, artifacts, knowledge, history, memory, traditions ...
We identify the heritage category through several criteria:
- a link to the past: the heritage is supposed to be inherited from the ancestors;
- a desire for intergenerational transmission, which presupposes a parsimonious or sustainable management of this heritage so that descendants can enjoy it;
- an identity, social, symbolic or emotional charge linked to a particular context. Patrimonial recognition is often linked to a situation of vulnerability that arises from a confrontation with the outside, on scales as different as that of a community confronted with another, or with state interests; or that of a state facing international or global opportunities or threats. This makes it one of the emerging themes of globalization. Patrimonialization consists of protecting public goods or collective goods (commons) with institutional tools or various strategies;
- Collective recognition by a community: the heritage must not be decreed by a third party, but recognized and claimed as such by the community or the State which is the depositary. However, several heritage movements may be in fact distinguished. In one, bottom-up, local people are the driving force behind heritage construction, which may or may not tend toward official recognition; in the other, top-down, patrimonies are decreed at higher institutional levels by governments or international bodies (eg Unesco).
In the context of a global environmental crisis of global competition for access to resources, the fact is now a power issue between actors with very different interests who do not always respond to those of local communities.