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European Products: Making and Unmaking Heritage in Cyprus

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European Products

Making and Unmaking Heritage in Cyprus

Gisela Welz

204 pages, 1 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78238-822-7 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (September 2015)

ISBN  978-1-78533-517-4 $29.95/£23.95 Pb Published (June 2017)

eISBN 978-1-78238-823-4 eBook

Hb Pb   Buy the eBook from these vendors Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®



“Despite modernization and growing tourism, regardless of class, [Cypriot society has retained social practices]; people are helpful and inviting. Visitors can enjoy much in this very good, well-written book, not the least being a very impressive culinary selection. For readers at all levels, and probably a number of individuals who are not academics or social scientists. Highly recommended. · Choice

“…an illuminating study of heritage practices in Cyprus through an ethnography that is attentive to the complexities of cultural objectification. It has much to offer to the anthropology of Cyprus, heritage practices, and the EU.” · Olga Demetriou, PRIO Cyprus Centre

“The book is very well written, the ethnography superb, the topic of great contemporary relevance… It makes a substantial contribution to our understanding of Cypriot society as well as to the creation of heritage.” · Vassos Argyrou, University of Hull


On the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, rural villages, traditional artefacts, even atmospheres and experiences are considered heritage. Heritage making not only protects, but also produces, things, people, and places. Since the Republic of Cyprus joined the European Union in 2004, heritage making and Europeanization are increasingly intertwined in Greek-Cypriot society. Against the backdrop of a long-term ethnographic engagement, the author argues that heritage emerges as an increasingly standardized economic resource, a “European product.” Implemented in historic preservation, rural tourism, culinary traditions, nature protection, and urban restoration projects, heritage policy has become infused with transnational market regulations and neoliberal property regimes.

Gisela Welz is Professor and Chair of Cultural Anthropology and European Ethnology at Goethe University Frankfurt. She co-edited Divided Cyprus. Modernity, History and an Island in Conflict (with Yiannis Papadakis and Nicos Peristianis, Indiana University Press 2006).

Subject: Anthropology (General) Museum Studies Heritage Studies
Area: Southern Europe




  • ‘Past Presencing’ on the European Periphery
  • European Products
  • Cyprus: Postcoloniality, Division, and EU Accession
  • Fieldwork in Cyprus: Ethnographic Modalities
  • About this book


Chapter 1. Preserving Vernacular Architecture

  • Heritage and Nationalism in Cyprus
  • Villages Frozen in Time Preservation Standards and Aesthetic Control
  • Conclusion: ‘Streamlined Along the European Prototype’

Chapter 2. Packaging Hospitality

  • A Sustainable Alternative to Mass Tourism
  • The Philoxenia Standard
  • ‘Branding the Culture of the Villages’
  • Conclusion: The Creation of Tourist Spaces
  • Digression: Difficult Heritage

Chapter 3. Inventing the Rural

  • A Lesson in Development
  • European Union Policies
  • Upgrading the Rural Heritage
  • Conclusion: The Rural as a European Product


Chapter 4. ‘Full Meze’: Tourism, Modernity, Crisis

  • The Cultural Logic of Mass Tourism
  • What Makes Meze Cypriot?
  • Performing Asymmetry
  • Modernity and the Mutations of Cypriot Meze
  • Conclusion: Wasting or Sharing?

Chapter 5. ‘Origin Food’: The Struggle over Halloumi/Hellim

  • Contested Claims
  • Pure Products, Messy Histories
  • The Europeanization of Cheese Making
  • Managed Diversity
  • The Ingredients of Tradition
  • Conclusion: Heritage Effects and Property Regimes


Chapter 6. The Nature of Heritage Making: Environmental Governance

  • Forces: Land Ownership, the Postcolonial State and the Privatization of the Coast
  • Connections: Contested Natures and the Transnational Arena
  • Imaginations: Local Communities and Moral Economies
  • Conclusion: The Making of Biodiversity

Chapter 7. The Divided City: Europe and the Politics of Culture

  • Dissected Urban Space
  • The Nicosia Master Plan: Regeneration and Reconciliation
  • Crossing the Divide: Transnational Cultural Diplomacy and the Old Town
  • Remaking Lefkosia: Artists, Immigrants, and World-Class Architecture
  • ‘Get In the Zone’:  Competing for the European Title
  • Conclusion: Ambience for sale. Nature and Culture as Economic Assets


  • Heritagisation as a Vector of Europeanization
  • Standardization: Sameness or Difference?
  • Unmaking Heritage
  • Neoliberal Europeanization
  • One year later: What comes after ‘the crusade of greed’?
  • A Postcolonial Reading of the Crisis


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