Making change towards inclusive societies: the soft power of community archaeology in building cultural heritage in Mozan, Syria

Yara Moualla, Gayle McPherson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)
126 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

This paper investigates the soft power of community archaeology in transforming isolated and diverse communities into a more inclusive society, by reviewing community archaeology as a concept, and as a process, through the case of inclusive cultural heritage in Mozan, Syria. A theory of change underpinned key interventions in Mozan to track shifts in the social behaviour of locals from cultural isolation towards participation, partnership and inclusion, while investigating the process of establishing understanding, acceptance and mutual trust within communities. The research adopted an ethnographic study and used qualitative research methods. These relied primarily on direct observations and open ended, semi-structured and in-depth interviews with local communities, an archaeological mission and governmental and civic stakeholders involved in the area. The fieldwork research was informed by conducting a review of literature on the impact of culture and heritage in social contexts, social inclusion and cultural diplomacy. The paper demonstrates how the contribution of community archaeology in soft power change has assisted personal and community empowerment through inclusive cultural heritage on an individual level while strengthening social networks to mobilise the impact on the community as a whole. It reveals how such a project enhanced dialogue, increased awareness, and built and contributed to mutual understanding in order to support a shift in the harder area of symbolic community thinking and attitude, against a backdrop of conflict, war and isolation and builds the basis for inclusive cultural heritage tourism.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4670
Number of pages16
JournalSustainability
Volume11
Issue number17
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Aug 2019

Keywords

  • Community archaeology
  • Inclusion
  • Inclusive growth
  • Soft power
  • Cultural heritage
  • Cultural tourism
  • Cultural diplomacy
  • Syria

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