Purpose – This paper is based on a presentation given at the international World Heritage expert meeting on criterion (vi) held in Warsaw, Poland, in March 2012. Results were updated and adapted to scientific standards. The purpose of this paper is to understand the associative dimension in World Heritage by looking at the evolution and application of criterion (vi). Design/methodology/approach – For this paper, historical and qualitative approaches were combined. An understanding of the evolution of the criterion (vi) wording was gained through historical analysis and the consultation of relevant World Heritage statutory documents. A selected number of criterion (vi) statements were analyzed in qualitative terms. Results were then discussed in relation to the evolution of criterion (vi) wording and the understanding of pertinent World Heritage concepts. Findings – Criterion (vi) holds a special position. It addresses an associative dimension of cultural World Heritage sites. Due to its special character, its wording was subject to several changes. While its wording became ever more flexible, this development has not fostered the inscription of exceptional cases or the equal use of cultural associations. An inconsistent interpretation has also weakened the concept of Outstanding Universal Value. Research limitations/implications – Only inscriptions were taken into consideration. They usually have a World Heritage Committee approved criterion (vi) statement. Limitations to this research result from this restriction. Originality/value – The paper represents a comprehensive study of the application and interpretation of criterion (vi) that combines the understanding of the evolution of the criterion’s wording with the analysis of a large number of World Heritage inscriptions. It is of interest to the World Heritage community and contributes to the World Heritage discourse.
Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 17, 2015
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