Authorized Heritage Discourse
When it comes to key terms surrounding the topic of heritage, or world heritage sites, one can be easily mistaken. In this case, authorized heritage discourse, is full of meaning. To begin with, what is discourse? Discourse constructs and represents knowledge, and knowledge is power. Therefore, discourse is a very important part to the criteria of a world heritage site. In our society today, everyone fights for power and in order for a site to be added to the list it needs to be of authorized heritage discourse. Also, discourse is very similar to culture it is the way we talk, discuss, perceive, and understand things. Altogether, authorized heritage discourse is a practice of the way things are done. Authorized heritage discourse, defines who the spokesperson for the past are, and it gives importance, inheritance, and patrimony. By this it means that it freezes heritage in time and creates a partial meaning. Similar to stereotypes, it puts a label on things. An example of authorized heritage discourse would be the Rice Terraces of Ifugao in the Philippines.
The Rice Terraces of Ifugao are located in the northern Philippines, and they are divided into four clusters. The first cluster is in the town of Banaue, the second is located in Mayoyao, the third is in Kiangan, and lastly the fourth is in Hungduan. The terraces were added to the world heritage list in 1995, and they met the third, fourth, and fifth criteria. They are known not only for their beauty and genius architectural skill, but also for their intangible heritage. An immense amount of cultural background is attached to this site. They have been practicing the same agricultural techniques for the past 2000 years. Modernization has not affected the terraces and their people.
Authorized heritage discourse is displayed in this site because, it is referred to as a trademark of the Ifugao culture. When people hear the term “Ifugao”, they instantly make the connection to the Rice Terraces. The province of Ifugao is put on the map because of the terraces being added to the world heritage site list. In addition to this site displaying authorized heritage discourse, it is the most Filipino monument, free of foreign influence. Therefore, it is fair to say it is 100% Filipino, most of their monuments are influenced greatly by outsiders. Yet, this is why the rice terraces are the trademark for the Ifugao people.