Events ranging from the formation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission by the government of South Africa to the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan by the Taliban have much to say about heritage - that heritage may be less about upholding truth or authenticity, and more about delivering political objectives. This book questions the view within most Western societies that heritage is necessarily 'good', and uncovers the ways in which heritage embodies relationships of power and subjugation, inclusion and exclusion, remembering and forgetting. It considers who is represented by heritage and who heritage has neglected to mention. Heritage is shown to be both a versatile concept and a powerful tool, for the ownership of heritage objects, places and practices can bestow political power as well as stimulate political struggle. The book's principal focus is the relationship between heritage, globalisation, nationalism and grass roots heritage movements. International case studies are used to illustrate the ways in which the politics of the past are mediated in the present, including how notions of identity, social class, and nationhood may be woven into the provision of official heritage. The book highlights the influence of the World Heritage Convention and World Heritage List on heritage management in various global societies. With its firmly interdisciplinary and global approach, Understanding the politics of heritage will be of interest not only to students of heritage studies, but also to students and professionals in the fields of archeology, art history, anthropology, sociology, history, human geography, religious studies, museum studies, cultural studies, natural heritage management, and leisure and tourism studies.