Social transformations of cultural heritage: from benefaction to sponsoring: Evidence from mountain regions in Greece

Abstract

The concept of benefaction, as shaped in the pre-industrial society, has been altered and replaced by the modern term of sponsoring. The verbal transformation emerges from a deep cultural shift. Focusing on the dipole of benefactionsponsoring, we examine the cultural transition from the traditional communities of long duration to the modern societies of consumption, taking the Greek mountainous regions as an example. We investigate the cultural shift that generates the metastasis from the communities of benefaction to the modern brandplaces that consume their own cultural heritage, mainly, at the altar of the tourism industry. Modern society has adopted the concept of sponsoring, for the grace of which, culture has to prove evidence of economic value, in order to survive. In the extremely competitive frame of the free-market economy, mountain regions appear vulnerable. The selling and buying of their culture are tempting and attractive under a constantly shrinking welfare-state and narrowing development opportunities. It depends on local and national society to rediscover and regenerate those social mechanisms able to create culture or let the modern consumption-oriented forces prevail. However, authentic principles of benefaction may form an alternative perspective for social reorganization.

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Giannakopoulou, S., Kaliampakos, D. Social transformations of cultural heritage: from benefaction to sponsoring: Evidence from mountain regions in Greece. J. Mt. Sci. 17, 1475–1490 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11629-019-5928-3

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Keywords

  • Benefaction
  • Sponsoring
  • Cultural heritage
  • Mountain regions
  • Place branding
  • Place identity