This article begins by reviewing
the principles on which the social construction of heritage is based,
and raises a number of questions in relation to it. Subsequently,
it deals with the specific nature of the social construction of
local heritage. This specificity arises from the fact that scale
is a factor constitutive of meaning. This meaning is fed by memory,
especially intersubjective (that is, shared) memory constructed
with reference to present needs and interests. Memory determines
not only the relevance of events but the content of discourses.
Understood in this way, local heritage constitutes both a threat
and an opportunity. It is a threat because in the face of perceived
external threats, it tends to close in on itself, inducing a complacent
and exclusionary community dynamic. It is an opportunity because
it has the potential for constituting a forum open to social reflexivity
on multiple levels through which social reproduction may be addressed
in a participatory way.