In aligning its priorities around the Sustainable Development Goals, UNESCO officially acknowledges the need to reconcile the market and heritage. Yet inscriptions of commercial practices on the Intangible Cultural Heritage lists are qualified as ‘traumatic’ by actors that design normative principles for ‘good’ heritage governance. Based on ethnographic observations of the meetings of the governing bodies of the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, I analyse the controversies generated by the ‘risks of over-commercialization’, shedding light on the disputed entanglements between ICH and the market. In exploring the notion of ‘commercialization without over-commercialization’ meant to resolve the tension between heritage and the market, I highlight how ‘over-commercialization’ refers to notions of ‘misappropriation’ and ‘decontextualization’ and the ways it, therefore, intersects with the logics of Intellectual Property. This allows to elucidate a constitutive ambiguity in the implementation of the Convention, torn between the rationalities of heritage and property regimes.
Panas Karampampas (2020): (Re)inventing intangible cultural heritage through the market in Greece, International Journal of Heritage Studies
This article analyses a conceptual shift from ideas of tradition, customs and folklore and towards Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH). It looks to the political implications of ICH and various understandings of ICH held by heritage actors, including officials, academics, NGO’s and practitioners. It also scrutinises the ways in which traditions, customs and folklore were (re)introduced into the market when rebranded as ICH. The latter will be showed by analysing three diverse ethnographic case studies: a performative custom, a craft technique and an agricultural practice. It will be demonstrated how for the first time in Greece, these cases were brought together under one category in the all-inclusive umbrella of ICH. The concept of ICH began its dissemination in Greece during the ongoing economic austerity that has been in place since 2008. The austerity had a primary role in the interpretation of ICH, and many heritage actors attempted to counter the effects of the austerity through ICH, an important factor in understanding the conceptual shift. Consequently, the Greek austerity contextualised this change, and the article will elaborate upon the ways in which austerity directed actors to focus on the economic potentials of ICH.
This article focuses on the so-far unsuccessful attempts to inscribe elements of Chinese cuisine on the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Food designated as heritage has sparked a heated debate among academics and heritage experts, while being embraced by state parties. In China, food-related ICH nomination initiatives have come mainly from private businesses, local governments, and the China Cuisine Association. Only recently have national-level ICH experts taken several initiatives to make Chinese culinary ICH fit the ideas of the Convention, thus making it a potential candidate for a submission to UNESCO. This article discusses different actors’ ideas about food and heritage, how they conceive of culinary ICH, and for what purposes they are pursuing it. The story of Chinese food-related ICH is one of commercialization and the mushrooming cultural industry, but it is also very much a story about different understandings of the concept of ICH and provides insights into how a global concept gets localized in China and is appropriated by different governmental and non-governmental actors, to then be realigned and adapted again to fit the criteria for international inscription.
Chiara Bortolotto & Jorijn. Neyrinck‘Article 9: Accreditation of Advisory Organizations’, in J. Blake, L. Lixinski (eds). Commentary to the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage Convention. Oxford, Oxford University Press : 153-163.