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Discourses of cultural heritage in times of crisis: The case of the Parthenon Marbles

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>04/2017
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Sociolinguistics
Issue number2
Volume21
Number of pages30
Pages (from-to)208-237
<mark>State</mark>Published
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

The paper focuses on the commodification and politicisation of cultural heritage using as a case study the ongoing debate on the return of the Parthenon Marbles from the U.K. to Greece, recently reignited by the press release for the movie The Monuments Men in 2014. Greece has been in the throes of a severe financial crisis for over six years with the ever imminent threat of Grexit constantly disputed. In parallel with this ongoing turmoil, discourses of Greek antiquity have been persistently prominent in the media. In this context, we problematise the complex nexus of relationships between the financial crisis, national identity and cultural heritage. We combine the Discourse-Historical Approach and Interactional Sociolinguistics drawing data from an online forum, and investigate how the users negotiate pro-/anti-return positions and make the financial crisis relevant in the argumentation process. The analysis shows that history, identity, value, and debt are recontextualised in relation to the Parthenon sculptures. The analysis identifies an underlying process of value trade off and brings the current political and economic environment to the fore. We close the paper by foregrounding the implications of our study and provide directions for further research.

Bibliographic note

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Angouri, J., Paraskevaidi, M. and Wodak, R. (2017), Discourses of cultural heritage in times of crisis: The case of the Parthenon Marbles. J Sociolinguistics, 21: 208–237. doi:10.1111/josl.12232 which has been published in final form at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jsol.12232/abstract This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.