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The Significance Of Cultural Heritage For State Stability And Its Protection By Public International Law

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Chapter Summary

The significance of cultural heritage for state stability stems from its fundamental role for the communication of a specific collective memory, which forms the basis of collective identity. Cultural heritage may have implications for state stability in two major respects. First, the state itself needs to be based on a certain cultural heritage in order to gain legitimacy with state-actors. Secondly, the state needs to provide for stability by averting de-stabilising opposition from culturally heterogeneous non-state actors, who may exploit cultural heritage for political purposes by tying cultural heritage to certain identity markers. Tangible cultural heritage or cultural property consists of two groups of objects: movable and immovable ones. Movable objects are threatened by the removal from their countries of origin, i.e. by their illegal export. Public international law offers several legal instruments to protect the tangible cultural heritage from both kinds of threat.

Keywords: collective identity; collective memory; cultural heritage; public international law; state stability; state-actors



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