Ideas and images of what is deemed culturally valuable spring, on the one hand, from objects and values that are nationally respected and, on the other hand, from connections that are based on meanings attached to locality and identity. However, one should not experience the evaluation of cultural heritage only in an ossified way, as idolization of aspects of the past. lnstead, what is culturally valuable should rather find its place in modern cultural contexts. The western, modern way of life is generally characterized as being focused on individualism and individual goals, from which the "togetherness" of the past has entirely disappeared. Seen from the point of view of cultural and ethnological studies, the experience of solidarity alongside individualism is part of the elevation and evaluation of locality and identity that acts as a counterpoise to the supposedly levelling effect of globalization. Our recognition of the significance of our own national and local cultural heritage can also be the foundation from which we can learn to understand and respect people who follow different cultural values, ideals and customs in their lives.

Published: 2007-12-31

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