making change towords inclusive societies.

Making Change towards Inclusive Societies: The Soft
Power of Community Archaeology in Building
Cultural Heritage in Mozan, Syria

Yara Moualla and Gayle McPherson *
School of Media, Culture and Society, University of the West of Scotland, Glasgow G72 0LH, UK

  • Correspondence: gayle.mcpherson@uws.ac.uk
  • Received: 2 June 2019; Accepted: 21 August 2019; Published: 28 August 2019 at Journal Sustainability

Abstract: This paper investigates the soft power of community archaeology in transforming isolated
and diverse communities into a more inclusive society, by reviewing community archaeology as a
concept, and as a process, through the case of inclusive cultural heritage in Mozan, Syria. A theory of
change underpinned key interventions in Mozan to track shifts in the social behaviour of locals from
cultural isolation towards participation, partnership and inclusion, while investigating the process of
establishing understanding, acceptance and mutual trust within communities. The research adopted
an ethnographic study and used qualitative research methods. These relied primarily on direct
observations and open ended, semi-structured and in-depth interviews with local communities, an
archaeological mission and governmental and civic stakeholders involved in the area. The fieldwork
research was informed by conducting a review of literature on the impact of culture and heritage in
social contexts, social inclusion and cultural diplomacy. The paper demonstrates how the contribution
of community archaeology in soft power change has assisted personal and community empowerment
through inclusive cultural heritage on an individual level while strengthening social networks to
mobilise the impact on the community as a whole. It reveals how such a project enhanced dialogue,
increased awareness, and built and contributed to mutual understanding in order to support a shift in
the harder area of symbolic community thinking and attitude, against a backdrop of conflict, war and
isolation and builds the basis for inclusive cultural heritage tourism.
Keywords: community archaeology; inclusion; inclusive growth; soft power; cultural heritage;
cultural tourism; cultural diplomacy; Syria.

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