Title: Constituting Swiss heritage: discourse and the management of 'invasive species'

Authors: Alison E. Vogelaar; Brack W. Hale

Addresses: Communication and Media Studies, Franklin University, via Ponte Tresa 29, 6924 Sorengo, Switzerland ' Environmental Studies, Franklin University, via Ponte Tresa 29, 6924 Sorengo, Switzerland

Abstract: Heritage is at once a hobby, a call to arms, an industry, and an impetus for policy organisations and initiatives the world over. Nowhere is this trend more evident than in Switzerland where issues of cultural and natural heritage are a consistent feature of the political and cultural landscape. Heritage discourses are founded upon binaries, used pervasively in both identification (e.g., native/non-native) and management actions (protection/eradication). This article uses a discursive approach to examine two recent controversies in Switzerland - the 'invasive' Windmill palm and the recently banned Muslim minaret - in terms of the binaries used to contain and police each perceived 'outsider'. Recent scholarship acknowledges the impossibility of these binaries in a world as dynamic and complex as our own. Building upon this literature, this study demonstrates that binary thinking may have encouraged ineffective and inappropriate policy actions toward so-called non-natives in our Swiss case studies. We advocate the re-conceptualisation of belonging as 'interstitial' and assert that its use in heritage-related institutions, such as natural resource management and tourism, will facilitate more nuanced definitions of belonging and, hopefully, result in policy actions better suited to our times.

Keywords: heritage discourse; Switzerland; binaries; natives; non-natives; interstice; invasive species; tourism; Windmill palm; Muslim minarets; natural heritage; cultural heritage; natural resources; resource management; policy actions.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTA.2013.058633

International Journal of Tourism Anthropology, 2013 Vol.3 No.2, pp.130 - 149

Received: 16 Nov 2012
Accepted: 04 Sep 2013

Published online: 12 Jul 2014 *

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