Joint research project

The role of cultural heritage in social cohesion and diversity of local communities and in sustainable development of rural areas

Project leaders
Giuliana Quattrone, Bernadett Csurgó
UNGHERIA - HAS (MTA) - Accademia Ungherese delle Scienze
CNR/HAS (MTA) 2016-2018
Social sciences and humanities, cultural heritage
Thematic area
Social sciences and humanities, cultural heritage
Status of the project

Research proposal

Whereas, in the course of history, transformation dynamics of territorial identities have got going as a result of the meeting /clash among different migration cultures over the centuries, art and architectural heritage represent symbolically a visible synthesis of them. What once was a result of abuse and occupation, is transformed by the passage of time as a sign of the process of generation of the present identity. The cultural assets, especially the artistic and architectural heritage, represent a display - available for all to see - of the development of local identities and of how these identities are the result of processes of interaction among cultures. This is most evident in rural areas where local populations (less contaminated by modernity) still preserve traditions and cultures of the past.
Rural restructuring and sustainable rural development are the substantially researched fields in the contemporary rural sociology. Many scholars have concerned various dimensions of sustainability, in particular ecological and social sustainability related to for example rural livelihoods, landscapes and social inclusion; but we can find less but growing interest to consider culture as a fourth pillar of sustainable development. The focus of this research is foremost the cultural dimension in the context of rural restructuring and rural sustainability, more specifically cultural heritage.
The research may point to an analysis of the local communities and their greater or lesser ability to encounter with otherness and also to mapping cultural heritage in the territories. With reference to the architectural, artistic and monumental heritage, what has to be investigated is the possible influence of the presence of multicultural contamination in certain contexts in facilitating the cognitive aptitude of the various members of local communities in respect to the intercultural interaction. Furthermore, the research will attempt to propose a model of cultural heritage of the past for the future in sustainable terms.
The presence of a detailed and well-structured cultural heritage supply represents a factor able to support pluralism, cultural growth, and facilitate social cohesion; it is also a useful condition that contributes to the improvement of the citizens' life quality, and especially to the economic development of the territory. The research project aims to support the valorisation of the cultural patrimony through a method of combined management of the cultural heritage both for the aspects linked to conservation and also those related to the valorisation, with the creation and the strengthening of the cultural systems.
The research analyses the role of cultural heritage in 2 selected study areas In Italy and in Hungary. When selecting study area it is important that there is some kind of, more or less clear appearances of cultural heritage in local identity or in local goods and services. The Italian study area is Calabria region . The Calabria region is a rural region of the South of Italy with a cultural heritage that represents an immeasurable wealth. In the past this region has been subjected to drastic transformations under a strong human pressure and mass tourism which has determined an excessive and indiscriminate ground consumption and high risks for landscapes and cultural heritage due to the inadequacy of planning tools. The Hungarian study area is Prség micro region is one of the most developed regions in Hungary concerning cultural rural tourism providing wide range of rural cultural heritage from the built heritage to food.
The case study researches collect and analyse local cultural heritages having new functions and meaning for local community. The research comprises the analysis of different processes revolving around cultural heritage in the two countries and proposes, for the two study contexts appropriate forms of promotion of cultural heritage and cultural tourism in rural areas.
Bilateral Italian-Hungarian scientific cooperation propose to result
-knowledge transfer on the research of cultural heritage
-building of knowledge to develop on the research of cultural heritage in the context of rural communities.
The research cooperation between the two countries in area of mutual interest provides an opportunity for researchers including young scientists to address new areas of scientific research through the comparative analysis.
Research results generated in these projects are to be developed into wider international scientific network.

Research goals

The research collects and examines roles and effects of different kind of cultural heritage in rural restructuring and sustainable rural development.
Results of this research providing new knowledge and information on the place of cultural heritage in local development can be useful for experts of rural development in both countries.
Expected outcomes are:
- expanding the potential of the cultural heritage research sector;
- enhancing the dissemination of research results and news in the field of social science and innovative management of cultural heritage;
- increasing the visibility of the social and economic importance of the cultural heritage sector;
- supporting transfer/exchange of knowledge in the sector;
- developing a common framework of policies aimed at improving the protection, fruition and valorisation of cultural heritage;
- developing high-value tools and strategies applied to the cultural heritage management.
- favouring the sustainable tourism applied to the cultural heritage
- improved implementation of integrated regional policies for the enhancement of cultural and natural capital
- increased community awareness on the values of local cultural and natural heritage

The achievements of the project will be published in an international journal and also will be presented in international scientific conferences.

Last update: 17/07/2024