This paper considers the term critical in the unfolding formulation of critical heritage studies. It argues for a shift in emphasis from the subject of our effort to the object of attention, in other words focusing primarily on the critical issues that face the world today, the larger issues that bear upon and extend outwards from heritage. To that end, the paper presents two key directions. It suggests much is to be gained from tackling the uneasy relationship that currently exists between social science and humanities-based approaches to heritage and the professional conservation sector oriented by a scientistic materialism. Second, there is a need for heritage studies to account for its relationship to today's regional and global transformations by developing post-western understandings of culture, history and heritage and the socio-political forces that actualise them.