Confronting Caribbean Heritage in an Archipelago of Diversity: Politics, Stakeholders, Climate Change, Natural Disasters, Tourism, and Development

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The Caribbean archipelago is a series of independent island nations and overseas departments, territories, colonies, or commonwealths of developed countries. About 250 generations of human occupation in the Caribbean have produced a blend of traditions sometimes called a "cultural kaleidoscope." Eight thousand years of shifting cultural identities are recorded in archaeological, architectural, documentary, and ecological records, and in memories and oral traditions known as "heritagescapes." Caribbean heritagescapes are increasingly threatened by a combination of socioeconomic needs of modern society, ineffective governmental oversight, profit-driven multinational corporations, looters, and natural environmental processes. Balancing the needs of society against the protection and management of heritage requires careful thought and measured dialogue among competing stakeholders. Here we review the status of heritage in the Caribbean and offer a way forward in managing a diminishing supply of heritage resources in the face of current socioeconomic demands, and the unique legislative environments of independent island nations and overseas possessions of developed countries. Keywords: heritagescapes, stakeholders, contested memories, heritage consideration, Caribbean.



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