Borderlands: industry, culture and heritage

Principal researcher: Mariana Silva

Research group: Practices and Politics of Culture


Industry | Heritage | Identities

Funding Institution

Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT)



Start date





S. João da Madeira (Aveiro, Portugal) is known as a place where the economic foundations are grounded in a strong industrial activity that, from early on, has built its local identity rhetoric marked by the symbol of labour. More recently, from the last decade of the twentieth century onward, several agents began to look to its industrial dimension from a heritage and touristic perspectives. Therefore, S. João da Madeira is currently not only an important benchmark in the Portuguese industrial panorama, but does also stand out due to the dynamics related with the activation of its industrial heritage. From an anthropological point of view, this work intent to analyse the contemporaries' heritage-making processes of industry from the case of S. João da Madeira, as they are implemented by museum and touristic practices, suggesting a reflection on the way these articulate with the development of local identity policies. It also intent to highlight the culture-based approaches to industrial heritage, specially focusing on the way hybrid contexts, placed between rural and urban, were continuously influenced by a rural matrix, extremely relevant to the Portuguese context. At the same time, these approaches incorporate conceptions born from different heritage categories, like Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH). Furthermore, the objective is to contribute to a better understanding about the ways how ICH circulation has currently surpassed UNESCO's boundaries. In this point, it also be important to deepen the relationship between such practices and the companies marketing strategies that try to anchor in the "handcrafted" past the welcoming in the present of economic models based on innovation, design and creativity rhetoric.


Full members

João Leal

Practices and Politics of Culture