Negotiating Authority: Local Communities in the World Heritage Convention

Małgorzata Trelka

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The Operational Guidelines for the implementation of the World Heritage Convention stipulate that local communities and indigenous peoples are an intrinsic part of the identification, nomination, management and protection of World Heritage sites (UNESCO 2019, art. 12). This paper explores the role of local communities in the World Heritage system by critically assessing the implementation of the Convention in a European context through the case study of the Ironbridge Gorge WHS. The case study is contextualised in the representation of indigenous peoples in World Heritage policies negotiating their intellectual and legal authority in the World Heritage process facilitated through heritage bureaucracy. This paper will address the internationally important issue of power relations when it comes to the inclusion of local communities and indigenous peoples in the World Heritage Convention and in heritage practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-119
JournalArchaeologies: Journal of the World Archaeological Congress
Issue number1
Early online date5 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2020


  • World Heritage
  • Heritage policy
  • Local communities
  • Indigenous peoples
  • Heritage bureaucracy


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