This special issue is the outcome of an international workshop on “Intangible Cultural Heritage: Reconceptualisation, Uses, Marketisation” held on May 8 and 9, 2019 in Hangzhou, China. It is a joint cooperation between between the “UNESCO Friction” project and the Institute of Anthropology of Zhejiang University. Scholars from different disciplines and geographical regions explore questions related to the challenge of using intangible cultural heritage as a market resource.
Short summery (Chinese):
2003年《保护非物质文化遗产公约》颁布实施后，各缔约国基于各自的国情和文化立场，践行各种形式的保护行动。当国际标准遇到各个国家各自的遗产制度时，经常出现被挪用，重新解释，甚至被改变的情形。非物质文化遗产的商业化和经济考虑是一个经常被讨论的问题。本期专刊立足于《非遗公约》在全球和地方的具体实践，从跨国界、跨学科和跨文化的视角，通过个案研究的实证方式，从概念诠释、专属权、国家政策、司法实践和代表性传承人的商业实践等视角，审视和检讨非遗商业化的现象、过程、特征及其社会后果。本期专刊五篇文章选自2019年5月在中国杭州召开的由浙江大学人类学研究所与法国巴黎高等社会科学学院(EHESS)的“联合国教科文组织Friction”项目合作举办的“非物质文化遗产：再概念化、利用与市场化”的参会论文。专刊论文不在于寻求非遗商业化的价值判断，而是希望因此引起批判和反思非遗商业化过程中，隐匿在不同行动者之间的认知差异和实践背后的社会机制和行动逻辑，以推进非遗保护的可持续性发展。（刘朝晖 Philipp Demgenski）
Demgenski, Philipp. 2020. “When It Comes to Intangible Cultural Heritage, Everyone Is Always Happy” Some Thoughts on the Chinese Life of a UNESCO Convention.” Contemporary China Centre Blog. April 22, 2020. http://blog.westminster.ac.uk/contemporarychina/when-it-comes-to-intangible-cultural-heritage-everyone-is-always-happy-some-thoughts-on-the-chinese-life-of-a-unesco-convention/
The UNESCO 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage heralded the beginning of a new era pertaining to global (and local) cultural politics. It clearly departed from previous definitions and understandings of cultural heritage, promoting a dynamic and subjective understanding of culture. According to the Convention, communities, groups and individuals —rather than the heritage experts— are supposed to recognise and identify ICH and work towards its safeguarding and management. Today, the Convention has already been ratified by 178 State Parties and the concept of ICH is globally operational. However, as the international standard encounters different national heritage regimes, many controversies and tensions arise pertaining to its interpretation, translation and actual implementation at local levels. Heritage actors in different countries are often struggling to reconcile already existing heritage frameworks with the principles of the ICH Convention, which frequently results in the global standard being subject to transformation and reconceptualisation in its implementation process.
These challenges become particularly noticeable in the encounter between the abstract ideals of the Convention and the concrete uses and manifestations of ICH in the context of the so-called “Greek crisis”. Times of “crises” can create momentum and become a ground for changes and for new decisions to be made. This is also valid in the field of ICH in which people as a response to the economic “crisis” heightened their engagement with ICH in connection to the market and as a device to build up resilience. This workshop will explore the economic aspects of ICH looking at how safeguarding plans introduce ICH into the market in the context of economic austerity. This is a controversial point in the implementation of the Convention because the market is regarded as a threat to ICH and, at the same time, as a tool that keeps heritage “living” and open to change. Within this context, tourism is a key example of the marketisation of ICH.
This workshop, organised by the project “UNESCO Frictions: heritage-making across global governance” and the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS) in Paris with the collaboration of the Directorate of Modern Cultural Heritage of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports and the Museum of Modern Greek Culture (Athens). The workshop took place on the 3rd and 4th of September 2019 at the lecture theatre of the Museum of Modern Greek Culture. The “UNESCO Frictions” project traces the social life of the UNESCO 2003 Convention, investigating the entire policy chain that links the international arena with national heritage institutions and local heritage programs in China, Greece and Brazil. This workshop is designed to bring together different actors involved in the ICH field in Greece—scholars, administrators, policy-makers and “heritage bearers”—to engage in a discussion on the uses of ICH in times of crisis. Specifically, the workshop wants to understand: how different ICH actors at different levels
- reconceptualise ICH to build up resilience in the context of economic austerity;
- frame ICH safeguarding and management in market and tourism
- are more broadly motivated by the “crisis” to engage with ICH
Download the programme here
Panas Karampampas and Panayiota Andrianopoulou, RAI2018: Art, Materiality and Representation Conference, Royal Anthropological Institute, The Department of Africa, Oceania and the Americas of The British Museum and the Department of Anthropology at SOAS, London, UK 1-3 June 2018.
The UNESCO 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) requires from countries that have ratified the convention to plan and support the safeguarding of elements, which the state has recognised as ICH. In parallel to this scheme, safeguarding practices are done by individuals and groups, which in some cases are not informed or deliberately ignore the Convention. This is the case of Greek Aeróphona that revitalises the practice of Greek bagpipes. Central to this is the use of social media by Greek Aeróphona in organising their activities and disseminating and embodying their craft. However, the Greek State is currently starting the process of engaging Aeróphona musicians and crafters to discuss and create a safeguarding plan, aiming to inscribe Greek Aeróphona on the National ICH list. A part of bagpipers and crafters are against this for various reasons while others are not informed about the intention of the State. We examine and compare the safeguarding practices of the actors engage with this ICH elements as well as the creative frictions between them.