Thesis supervisor: prof Tõnu Oja (University of Tartu), prof Hannes Palang (University of Tallinn)
Oponent: prof Michael Jones (Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norra)
The doctoral thesis focuses on landscape and heritage as processes. In the main part of the thesis the formation of heritage is discussed with the help of the concepts of sustenance and maintenance. Sustenance has been defined as an unregulated holistic process. As concerns maintenance, heritage is defined as its object and it occurs via aimed protection, introduction, and other activities. In the light of these two concepts, the transformations in the meanings of two examples, swings and mires, during the past hundred years were studied. The main aim of the thesis is divided into four subtopics that include positioning of the examples on the scale of sustenance and maintenance, as well as introducing different factors that support or impede today’s functioning of phenomena that were formed in the past.
The thesis results in the construction of a model that helps to map the modes of heritage managements: (A) living-in, in the case of which the local inhabitant is the creator/consumer of the heritage; (B) jumping-into that involves heritage consumption as a guest; (C) looking-at, in the case of which mostly passive spectatorship occurs.
In the course of the study it appeared that village swing sites constitute vivid examples of the conception of living-in. Swings and swing sites are not protected institutionally; often swings are built because of the wish of the community. The main factor inhibiting the survival of swing sites is the fear of ensuing responsibility in case an accident should happen to anyone using the swing. As a solution, safer village swings might be devised and the responsibility could be shared between the swingers, the swing builders, and the owner of the land.
Applying the model in case of mires helped to show that mires tend to be interpreted more from the position of looking-at and less from the perspective of jumping-into. The conception of living-in has survived in the context of berry picking. Maintaining mires as natural heritage finds expression in activities related to nature protection and nature education. It can be claimed that the example of mires demonstrates that heritage culture and nature protection tend to exclude each other, first and foremost favouring heritage management based on the conception of looking-at. In order to gain a more immediate contact, using mires based on the conception of jumping-into should be facilitated. The model of heritage functioning that was created also helped to prove that maintaining helps to define heritage objects, while sustaining is conducive of the objects’ active survival.