The H@V team presented a paper on “Locating Value: An Epistemological Approach” at the annual conference of the Royal Geographical Society in London under an interdisciplinary session entitled Locate Value. The paper aimed to ‘locate’ the notion of heritage value across a diverse range of disciplines by looking at how ‘heritage values’ (and in particular ‘value typologies’) have been discussed across a wide range of disciplines. Some of the disciplines that we looked at include heritage conservation and management, heritage studies, archaeology, environmental studies, cultural economics, geography and heritage science. The paper endeavoured to interpret the different ways in which ‘heritage values’ are understood by various disciplines (see Understanding Values blog item) by utilising Becher’s and Trowler’s classification of ‘academic disciplines’ as a starting point. This proved to be a useful classification as it is based on both the cognitive and the social components of a discipline. Drawing on data collected from the ongoing anonymous online survey of the project it became apparent that ‘soft’ and ‘pure’ sciences (to use Becher’s and Trowler’s term) are more inclined to resist against the idea of ‘value typologies’ while ‘hard’ and/or ‘applied’ sciences were in favour. All disciplines seemed to agree that qualitative methods are important for assessing values while quantitative methods were mainly supported (possibly not unsurprisingly) by ‘hard’ sciences (both pure and applied). The survey is still ongoing and your participation will be much appreciated.
Becher, T. and Trowler, P.R. 2001. Academic Tribes and Territories. 2nd edition. The Society for Research into Higher Education & Open University.