Stories of Heritage
Many appealing stories have their roots in folklore, but are constantly adapted to current situations, political and environmental concerns and interests.
Our project analyses the ways in which these stories allow people of diverse cultural backgrounds and religious affiliations to relate to rural landscapes, sites and regions and develop a sense of belonging.
About the project
Stories make sense, but they are never final. People tell stories over and over again. To better understand the cultural dynamics of small stories is of crucial importance in a time where the once dominating grand narratives fail to create an integrative community.
We study historical and contemporary storytelling practices on European pilgrim routes, sites of former religious importance and in transnational regions marked by ethnic and religious divides or environmental challenges. Many of the narratives linked to these places are now disconnected from their former religious context and are adapted to negotiate local, national and European identities. Drawing on folklore studies, cultural history, the study of religion and narratology, our aim is to uncover the ingredients of engaging narrative cultures.
We observe how people participate in casual storytelling situations, how they incorporate local or traditional narratives, and how they use them in religious and political discourse to translate the past into a heritage.
We identify the features of culturally successful narratives, the clusters of motifs, and themes that allow people to relate and engage with traditions that are not necessarily their own.
And we provide the cultural resources to re-story landscapes and make them a multi-layered and sustainable heritage for today's society.