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date: 14 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Debates in the study of public heritage are rooted in the field’s inherently interdisciplinary nature. Heritage is about both the past and the present; about tangible objects and intangible myths; about individuals, groups, institutions, and nations. Cutting through these challenges requires approaching heritage as the emergent product of dense interaction between diverse systems that operate on multiple levels of analysis. This chapter explores the utility of a method known as Cognitive-Affective Mapping, capable of tracking the interaction between tangible and intangible elements of the past and present where they must, by necessity, meet on common ground: as emotionally loaded representations in the human mind. Drawing from the examples of Switzerland and Israel, we examine how such a method can be used both to explain the authenticity of a given object to a national heritage, and to illuminate the emotional significance of this property in situations of inter-group conflict.

Keywords: cognition, emotion, authenticity, complexity, cognitive-affective mapping, national identity, conflict

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