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Heritage made by walking

Conference contribution
Authors Katarina Saltzman
Published in 14th Congress of Société Internationale d'Ethnologie et de Folklore (SIEF), Santiago de Compostela, 14-17 April 2019
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Conservation
Language en
Subject categories Ethnology


Paths shaped by human feet in the landscape constitute a distinct 'movement heritage' that is ephemeral, often neglected, and difficult to handle within established heritage management regimes. In an ongoing research project we walk along tracks and trails as a method to understand this heritage. Landscapes which are commonly understood as wilderness or 'nature' are in fact in most cases influenced by human actions and movements. Such landscapes often contain comprehensive traces and remains from different kinds of human motion. Paths, tracks and trails have been shaped by people walking, hiking, exploring, training and in other ways moving by foot through the landscape in the past and the present. These traces represent a distinct kind of cultural heritage, a 'movement heritage' (Svensson, Sörlin & Wormbs 2016) that is ephemeral, often neglected, and difficult to handle within established heritage management regimes. This paper will present an ongoing research project on the 'movement heritage' of walking trails in Sweden, carried out by Sverker Sörlin (KTH Royal Institute of Technology), Daniel Svensson (Chalmers University of Technology), and myself. The project is funded by the Swedish National Heritage Board, with the aim to explore the nature of heritages based on the practice of walking. In this presentation I want to focus specifically on how we have chosen to use our own feet as a research tool; going walking along tracks and trails as a way to gain an understanding of this heritage of motion. Ref: Svensson, D., Sörlin, S. & Wormbs, N. (2016). 'The movement heritage - scale, place, and pathscapes in Anthropocene tourism' in Gren, M and Huijbens, E (eds.), Tourism and the Anthropocene, London: Routledge, pp. 131-151.

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