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Staša Babić


Staša Babić – Full Professor of the Department of Archaeology, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade. Served as Head of Department from 2009 to 2018. Her research focuses on theory in archaeology, Iron Age and Classical Archaeology of Greece. Her 2018 monograph Metaarheologija (Metaarchaeology) discusses the nature of archaeological knowledge, with an emphasis on the importance of collective knowledge versus paradigm shifts. One of the authors of the European Association of Archaeologists Statement Archaeology and the Future of Democracy (


The concept of the authorized heritage discourse (AHD), proposed by Laurajane Smith in 2006, has profoundly changed (some of) the scholars’ perception of the tangible traces of past human actions. Its main tenet is that heritage is constructed in an intricate interplay of various social actors in the present, some of them in possession of authority to single out, ascribe value, and solidify in the public discourse some aspects of the past, in accordance with a set of present concerns, while some other actors and their concerns are excluded from this process. Smith’s work has opened up the path to fundamental reconsiderations in a number of disciplines, including archaeology, with beneficent results. However, in order to do justice to its author’s theoretical position, firmly set in the constructivist realm, it may be instructive to take into consideration the context in which the concept of AHD was formulated and the problems it was originally aimed to solve. This is particularly important when it is applied in heritage studies of the regions that differ significantly from the original setting, both in terms of their past and present conditions. The contribution will therefore aim to discuss some of the possibilities, as well as limitations of the application of the concept of AHD in SE Europe.