Contemporary Conflict, Nationalism, and the Destruction of Cultural Property During Armed Conflict / Sigrid van der Auwera

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I found this clear and interesting essay on the relation between architcture, nationalism and destruction  in Journal of conflict archaelogy . 

An essay by:

Sigrid van der Auwera

Department of Management, Cultural Management, University of Antwerp, Belgium
During armed conflict, cultural property can be intentionally destroyed or looted. Despite the development of many preventive measures in recent decades, this phenomenon has not observably decreased. The literature on cultural property destruction during armed conflict fails to interpret this trend within a broader theoretical framework. Therefore, this article links the empirical knowledge on destruction of cultural property to contemporary theories of war and nationalism. This is achieved through an analysis of documents and literature. Our main conclusion is that the identity-bound character of (or role of nationalism in) contemporary wars is linked to an increased incidence of cultural property destruction. Moreover, factors such as illicit war economies, the prevalence of contemporary wars in weak or failed states, and the multiplicity of actors engaged, contribute to the incidence of intentional cultural property destruction and looting. These insights can contribute to an improved understanding of the phenomenon and, consequently, to an enhanced cultural property destruction prevention strategy.

Journal of Conflict Archaeology
ISSN: 1574-0773, Online ISSN: 1574-0781

Volume 7, Issue 1, pages 49-65
© W. S. Maney & Son Ltd 2012

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