Paper presentation at the workshop “Studying Micro Practices in (International) Institutions: Chances and Limitations of Theory Building”, Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research, University of Duisburg-Essen, Duisburg, 26-27 November.
This paper explores the ethnographic conundrums of investigating global heritage governmentality through collaboration with the epistemic community involved in the implementation of the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. This insider status affords access to key situations for grabbing the creative friction that globalize the Convention’s policy principles but at the same time generates pressing methodological anxieties. Autoethnographic accounts illustrate the constant tension between different positionalities and offer empirical material through which to interrogate the difficult relation between action and knowledge in the study of policy making. Considering how this disquiet influence theory building aims at contributing to broader debates on engagement and collaboration that are of high concern for social sciences.