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Id 140
Author Beeksma, A., ; Chiara , D., C.
Title Participatory heritage in a gentrifying neighbourhood: Amsterdam’s Van Eesteren Museum as affective space of negotiations
Beeksma, A. & Chiara, D.C. (2019) Participatory heritage in a gentrifying neighbourhood: Amsterdam’s Van Eesteren Museum as affective space of negotiations. International Journal of Heritage Studies, Volume 25 (9), 974-991

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Abstract In this article we analyse the Van Eesteren Museum as a technique of local governmentality. This small but growing institution aims to preserve and showcase the modernist urban planning and architecture of the disadvantaged Amsterdam neighbourhood of Slotermeer. Built on volunteers, residents' participation played a crucial role in its creation and still does in its day-to-day operation. While many see the museum as a bottom-up project, upon closer inspection, this participatory heritage project appears more ambivalent, effectively functioning as a platform for mediating conflicting interests and agendas in an urban context that is heavily shaped by local and national policies of urban renewal. This neighbourhood museum responds to a specific Dutch policy of state-led gentrification aimed at promoting social control while actually (unintentionally) producing social cleavages. Only a very specific and rather homogenous group of residents volunteer for the museum, other residents with more diverse backgrounds do not really participate. While the Van Eesteren Museum is rooted in this specific Dutch context, we argue that it points to the relevance of heritage to a new rationality of decentralised local governance based on producing caring' and feeling' citizens.


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People are encouraged to belong to the neighbourhood and to feel connected to it. .
This form of citizenship centres on feelings of local belonging and makes people feel that a certain place is truly home. .
For all of them though, volunteering for the museum is a profoundly meaningful experience that gives people a sense of empowerment by enabling them to contribute to their living environment and their own self-improvement. .
These volunteers involvement is crucial to the museums existence and self-concept. .
When we asked the volunteers what they enjoyed about their museum work, they emphasised the social dimension (the gezelligheid) of the place, sharing passions with likeminded people, and a desire to stay in touch with their professional field. .
The Van Eesteren Museum produces a community of belonging that is incredibly meaningful to the volunteers and that offered many a new life and sense of purpose during the economic crisis. .
How does this fascinating participatory heritage project intervene in and attempt to shape a super-diverse urban neighbourhood with a history of deprivation that is currently the target of government urban renewal policies? .
Recent studies of urban community organising have demonstrated this: w e . . . assume that expanding participation can be a source of democratic renewal, social solidarity, and better decisions. .