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13 IJCP 1 (2006)

handle is hein.journals/injculpy13 and id is 1 raw text is: 

International Journal of Cultural Property (2006) 13:1 24. Printed in the USA.
Copyright © 2006 International Cultural Property Society
DOI: 10.1017/S0940739106060012

Dignifying Carnival: The Politics of
Heritage Recognition in Puebla, Mexico

Nancy Churchill*

Abstract: This article problematizes the process of heritage declaration using
ethnographic research on the working class carnival produced each year in the
historic city center of Puebla, Mexico. The author explores the ways in which
the intersection of cultural and political practice in this case has not only
called into question the authenticity of certain aspects of this local tradition,
but have instead converted them into points of contention among carnival

                         HERITAGE DESIGNATION

The coveted designation of world heritage site bestowed by the United Nations
Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is a mark of dis-
tinction whose value extends far beyond the sphere of culture. Such conferrals
recognize the often long-term efforts of local architects, historians, ecologists, ar-
chaeologists, anthropologists, and artists to preserve sites that represent times,
events, places, and people central to the hegemonic enterprise of nation building.
This is particularly the case with tangible heritage, which recognizes the artistic
and architectural genius of past generations or inspirational sites of natural beauty.
Moreover, in urban settings heritage designation can be a successful economic strat-
egy for recovering deteriorated infrastructure through symbolic revaluation that
in turn spurs a revaluation of private property with the potential for tourist-
oriented development.!
  In a similar vein, UNESCO's efforts to recognize and promote Masterpieces
of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity provide an opportunity to
ensure that the global economy and political strife between ethnic groups and

Instituto de Ciencias Sociales y Humanidades; Benemerita Universidad Aut6noma de Puebla. Email:

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