The shifting baseline syndrome and generational amnesia in heritage studies

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23 Citations (Scopus)
174 Downloads (Pure)


It is widely understood that the preservation of cultural heritage sites and objects is underpinned by values projected by the public onto essentially inanimate objects, that these values vary in strength, and that they are mutable qualities. Using hindsight, the contemporary values are projected on past creations that persist into the present. If deemed significant, these past creations will be listed on heritage lists and afforded various levels of protection. As time moves on, new places or objects will be deemed significant and added to the lists. Using a case study, this paper examines the concept of shifting baselines and how they impact on the identification and listing/protection of heritage places. It will demonstrate that generational biases play a significant role in the initial listing and exert a lasting legacy through the static nature of heritage listings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2007-2027
Number of pages21
Issue number3
Early online date02 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


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