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How can cultural heritage contribute to community development and wellbeing

Beel, David ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1146-229X and Wallace, Claire (2021) How can cultural heritage contribute to community development and wellbeing. In: Researching Happiness: Qualitative, Biographical and Critical Perspectives. Policy Press. ISBN 9781529206135 (paperback); 9781529206128 (hardback); 9781529206166 (ebook)

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Abstract

The paper looks at how cultural heritage can help to create dynamic rural communities using notions of the circulation of cultural, social and economic capitals. There is no one model of how cultural heritage can be used and different communities approach their heritage in different ways. An important factor is the local ownership and control of this heritage which then grows to have further ramifications for the communities in question enabling further community development. Cultural heritage generates social and cultural capital by helping to mobilise community participation, which in turn helps to create the “community” in question. It contributes towards wellbeing by helping to create pride and esteem related to a sense of place. This also has economic benefits by attracting tourists and keeping local businesses afloat. The paper will focus upon two case studies to illustrate how community development and wellbeing grew from cultural heritage. In particular, we examine the challenges of community-based research into wellbeing and how to understand wellbeing in community settings. The paper argues that wellbeing can be seen as a collective rather than only an individual characteristic and illustrates the role of qualitative research in understanding this.

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