World heritage and cultural sustainability. The farmers and fishermen of Vega, Northern Norway
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Heritage is acknowledged as crucial for cultural sustainability. This chapter investigates how the world heritage status of Vega, an archipelago in northern Norway, and its promoted values are utilised, understood and appreciated locally by farmers and fishermen. More specific, it explores how these two groups relate to and engage with the world heritage and how this engagement can be understood in the context of cultural sustainability. The world heritage status and the related ‘heritagisation’ process has affected the farming and fishing industries differently as a result of differences in the sectors’ vitality and viability; farmers’ saw the potential in the world heritage status while the fishermen did not. These differences are again connected to the prevailing policies in the sectors and their social, economic and environmental bases. More specifically, the fisheries have experienced a negative development related to disadvantageous policies and environmental degradation while the agrarian sector have been tied to a rhetoric of the farmer as an upholder of heritage and to a system of agri-environmental schemes representing income possibilities for the Vega farmers. Following on from this, it is debatable to what extent the world heritage status has had a positive impact on the community’s cultural sustainability as a whole.