Wall Memorials and Heritage: The Heritage Industry of Berlin's Checkpoint Charlie, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Wall Memorials and Heritage

The Heritage Industry of Berlin's Checkpoint Charlie, 1st Edition

By Sybille Frank


286 pages

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Analysing the transformation of Berlin’s former Allied border control point, "Checkpoint Charlie," into a global heritage industry, this volume provides an introduction to, and a theoretically informed structuring of, the interdisciplinary international heritage debate. This crucial case study demonstrates that an unregulated global heritage industry has developed in Berlin which capitalizes on the internationally very attractive – but locally still very painful – heritage of the Berlin Wall. Frank explores the conflicts that occur when private, commercial interests in interpreting and selling history to an international audience clash with traditional, institutionalized public forms of local and national heritage-making and commemorative practices, and with the victims’ perspectives.

Wall Memorials and Heritage illustrates existing approaches to heritage research and develops them in dialogue with Berlin’s traditions of conveying history, and the specific configuration of the heritage industry at "Checkpoint Charlie". Productively integrating theory with empirical evidence, this innovative book enriches the international literature on heritage and its economic and political contexts.


"The Berlin Wall stood for 28 years before crumbling in the midst of popular protests that begin in November 1989. This year will mark the 28th anniversary of its fall. Thus, it seems timely to consider the ways that Germans have sought to remember the barrier that divided them for so long. Using Checkpoint Charlie as her focus, Frank (sociology, Technische Univ. Berlin) examines the debates surrounding the commemoration of the wall. She devotes the first part of her ambitious new book to a theoretical exploration of the concept of heritage and provides a thorough review of recent literature on the topic. Here, she makes the argument that heritage research should become a subdiscipline of its own in the field of sociology. The book's second part traces the complicated—and often contentious—discussions that have transpired since the 1990s regarding how Checkpoint Charlie specifically, and the Berlin Wall more generally, should be memorialized. This fascinating history of commemoration in reunified Germany identifies the interests of both public and private stakeholders and illuminates how competing agendas often led to misunderstandings and conflict. Summing Up: Highly recommended"

- B. M. Puaca, Christopher Newport University in CHOICE

Table of Contents

Introduction: Heritage as an Under-Researched Academic Field Part 1: Theoretical Foundations: The Anglo-American Heritage Debate 1. How it Began: The Debate on the British Heritage Industry 2. International Outreach: Heritage as a Global Field of Sociocultural Practice Part 2: Empirical Findings: The Conflicts around Checkpoint Charlie 3. From Checkpoint to "Chequepoint": Introduction to the History of and the Diverse Stakeholders at Checkpoint Charlie 4. First Conflict: From Checkpoint to "Cheekpoint" 5. Second Conflict: From Checkpoint to "Shockpoint" 6. Checkpoint Charlie as a Victims’ Place and the Impossibility of Learning from Disney 7. Disneyfication as Cultural Combat Term 8. Pitfalls and Loopholes of Local Governance Conclusion: The Unregulated Formation of a Heritage Industry at Checkpoint Charlie

About the Author

Sybille Frank is Professor in the School of Planning, Department of Sociology at the Technische Universität Berlin, Germany.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Heritage

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ART / Conservation & Preservation
HISTORY / Europe / Germany
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Archaeology
TRAVEL / Museums, Tours, Points of Interest