Patrimoine, histoire et présentisme, Heritage as Present-Day Politics // [Heritage, history and presentism. Heritage as Present-Day Politics]

How can we explain the shift from a relationship to heritage that was anchored in the past to a kind of heritage that keeps speaking in the present tense? In this interview, conducted by Pascale Goetschel and Yann Potin, Francois Hartog, a specialist in Greek antiquity and various “regimes of historicity”, discusses the historical transformations that have affected the concept of heritage and the practices associated therewith. Describing the decline, since the 1980s, of a traditional vision of heritage that was centred on historical monuments and exploited the past to shed light on the future, Hartog observes the rise of the heritage industry – the result of the growing role of memory in the public sphere – an industry which takes the present as its horizon and uses emotions as a means of communication. While the genealogy that Hartog proposes remains limited by Western forms of relating to past in the present, it is nonetheless a way to measure the stakes that are always present when dealing with the question of heritage.