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Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy

Culture conflict - Research network

Abstract

 

Why is cultural heritage targeted in conflict? Under what circumstances? By whom? Cultural heritage represents the physical manifestation of the culture and history of a social group and forms a major component of a people’s sense of identity. Its destruction is designed to erase the presence of a people from the present and from the past. Despite the significant research efforts that study the causes of war and violations of civil and political rights, little consideration has been given why cultural heritage is targeted as part of conflict. This absence of scholarly attention has impoverished our ability to theorize about conflict, our ability to explain the reasons why culture is targeted by armed actors, and our understanding of people who lived through periods of violence.