World heritage and community change: the case of Santa Cruz de Mompox, Colombia

Rueda Esteban, Nancy Rocío ORCID: 0000-0001-8579-2032 (2021). World heritage and community change: the case of Santa Cruz de Mompox, Colombia. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

Text - Redacted Version
Available under License All rights reserved.

Download (24MB) | Preview


The inscription of sites as World Heritage is largely motivated by the need to protect, conserve, and communicate Outstanding Universal Value. This designation process has mainly been a top-down decision without considering how communities engage with their heritage and its local values and how these change in time. This thesis examines the relationships between a local community and their heritage in the remote and marginal city of Santa Cruz de Mompox (Mompox), Colombia, which was designated a World Heritage Site in 1995 as a colonial historical centre on the banks of the Magdalena River. Using a qualitative, participative methodology, this research explores the changes in the social fabric and spatial relationships that have unfolded in the town since its inscription on the World Heritage List. The study examines how the local communities – the Momposinos – have engaged and negotiated their heritage through the processes of development in social life and economic growth. The study reveals that the changes that have taken place in Mompox, including the development of tourism, have had little to do with World Heritage designation but rather have emerged in a slow evolutionary process and through wider networks. Indeed, the findings reveal a divergence between the heritage values embedded in the World Heritage designation and the heritage values that are practiced by the local communities. The communities displayed a lack of engagement with the meaning of World Heritage, but nonetheless valued functional aspects relating to it, along with their own sense of vernacular heritage including intangible elements. The thesis add to the debates that continue to challenge the meaningfulness of community involvement in the World Heritage process, and the over-simplified arguments that see inscription on the World Heritage List as leading to a series of development impacts irrespective of wider issues of normative community development.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of History and Cultures, Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage (IIICH)
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races


Request a Correction Request a Correction
View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year