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Heritage Kinaesthetics:

Local Constructivism of
UNESCO’s Intangible-Tangible Politics
at a Favela Museum



Nadezhda Dimitrova Savova
Working Paper #38, Spring 2009

Writing practiced as walking and walking as writing, I explore the spatial phenomenology of urban revitalization, “heritage,” and “cultural tourism” through the ways in which a Brazilian community imagines its history and constructs its presence in practices of local constructivism of a heritage site. The site is Providencia, Rio de Janeiro’s oldest favela (shantytown) and the “Open-Air/ Living Museum” that the Municipality of Rio de Janeiro established in the neighborhood, by building an open-air tourist trail. How in the practice of heritage-making do the “locals” imagine the “local” cultural heritage? Do they affirm or modify the institutional (municipality, state, and UNESCO) conceptualizations of tangible and intangible heritage? And how does tourism connect to the conjuring of community cultural revival and economic improvements?

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