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Rethinking Cultural Resource Management in Southeast Asia

Rethinking Cultural Resource Management in Southeast Asia

Preservation, Development, and Neglect

Edited by John N. Miksic, Geok Yian Goh, Sue O’Connor

‘Rethinking Cultural Resource Management in Southeast Asia’ explores the challenges facing efforts to protect the cultural assets of Southeast Asia from the ravages of tourism and economic development.

Hardback, 278 Pages


December 2011

£70.00, $115.00

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About This Book

‘Rethinking Cultural Resource Management in Southeast Asia’ explores the challenges facing efforts to protect Southeast Asia’s indigenous cultures and archaeological sites from the ravages of tourism and economic development. The tourism industry has long recognized the economic benefits of cultural resources, and in Southeast Asia many countries have already developed elements of their cultural heritage into tourist attractions. If not properly managed, the side effects of this development have the potential to be disastrous. As such, there is a now pressing need to create a coordinated study of the growing field of cultural resource management (CRM).

This volume develops a set of themes, including: tourism and its alternatives as CRM strategies; the mitigation of the effects of tourism and other developmental forces; site preservation, ranging from monuments to vernacular architecture, villages, and urban neighbourhoods; and legal issues facing resource management. Its essays discuss innovative approaches to CRM, and avoid the assumption that Euro-American solutions are applicable worldwide; in the Southeast Asian context, funding is often limited, whilst concepts of cultural resource ownership and governmental authority differ from those in the West.

The ultimate goal of CRM is sustainable management, but the convergence between development and preservation is often tense because it entails compromise and negotiation between parties with conflicting interests. The frequently cited concept of “sustainability” is therefore subject to differing interpretations, and conflicts between the short term and long term, local and global, and restoration and regeneration are perennial sources of dispute between stakeholders.

Southeast Asian cultures are thus under intense pressure on many fronts. What this volume seeks to illuminate is the need for effective management strategies to reduce the destructive potential of these conflicting interests: tourism in this region is highly dependent on cultural attractions, and proper management strategies would ensure that these cultural assets are preserved. In turn, this will allow these cultural resources to contribute significantly to the material wellbeing – and stability – of their respective societies.


‘This volume is the first to offer a detailed analysis of the historical, political and social factors contributing to the current state of cultural resource management in Southeast Asia. Its case studies give unique insights to local law, policy and practice.’ —Professor Ben Marwick, Department of Anthropology, University of Washington

‘This book is vital reading for anyone interested in Southeast Asia’s cultural heritage and historical archaeology – terrestrial and maritime. Some major themes examined from different angles are local versus scholarly perspectives on ancient remains, and the balancing act between development for tourism and conservation of the historically authentic.’ —Dr David Bulbeck, Department of Archaeology and Natural History, Australian National University

‘This volume will be a critical resource for archaeologists, heritage managers, planners and land users within Southeast Asia – most importantly at the international level, where much discretionary funding for site conservation and research has (and will continue to) come from. The authors are to be applauded for the clarity they bring to the oft en parlous histories of CRM in their respective jurisdictions.’ —Professor Peter Veth, Research School of Humanities and the Arts, Australian National University

Author Information

John N. Miksic is Associate Professor in the Department of Southeast Asian Studies, National University of Singapore, and Head of the Archaeological Unit of the Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre, Institute for Southeast Asian Studies.

Geok Yian Goh is Assistant Professor in the Minor in History Programme at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological University.

Sue O’Connor is Professor of Archaeology in the School of Culture, History and Languages at the College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University.


Anthem Southeast Asian Studies

Table of Contents

List of Tables and Figures; Introduction: John N. Miksic; SOUTHEAST ASIA (GENERAL); Chapter 1 Thinking about Popular Religion and Heritage - Denis Byrne; Chapter 2 Wrecked Twice: Shipwrecks as a Cultural Resource in Southeast Asia - Michael Flecker; EAST TIMOR; Chapter 3 Whose Culture and Heritage for Whom? The Limits of National Public Good Protected Area Models in Timor Leste - Sue O’Connor, Sandra Pannell and Sally Brockwell; Chapter 4 Archaeological Practice in Timor Leste: Past, Present and Future - Peter Lape and Randy Hert; CAMBODIA;  Chapter 5 Rethinking Cultural Resource Management: The Cambodian Case - Son Soubert; Chapter 6 Conservation of the Thnal Mrech Kiln Site, Anlong Thom, Phnom Kulen - Chhay Visoth; Chapter 7 Cultural Resource Management in Phnom Sruk: Potential and Problems - Chan Sovichetra; Chapter 8 Archaeology and Cultural Resource Management South of Phnom Penh, Cambodia - Phon Kaseka; Chapter 9 Heritage Management of Wooden Prayer Halls in Battambang Province, Cambodia - Song Sophy; MYANMAR; Chapter 10 Innovation versus Preservation: Heritage Management and Burmese Traditional Performing Arts - Goh Geok Yian; THE PHILIPPINES; Chapter 11 Using International Heritage Charters in Philippine Cultural Resource Management - Vito Hernandez; SINGAPORE; Chapter 12 Transforming the National Museum of Singapore - Kwa Chong Guan; Chapter 13 Singapore’s Archaeological Heritage: What Has Been Saved - John N. Miksic; VIETNAM; Chapter 14 The Preservation and Management of the Monuments of Champa in Central Vietnam: The Example of My˜ Sơn Sanctuary, a World Cultural Heritage Site - Tran Ky Phuong

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