Commercialization without over-commercialization : normative conundrums across heritage rationalities

Chiara Bortolotto, 2020. Commercialization without over-commercialization : normative conundrums across heritage rationalitiesInternational Journal of Heritage Studies 

Abstract: 

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.

 

(Re)inventing intangible cultural heritage through the market in Greece

 
 
 

Culinary Tensions: Chinese Cuisine’s Rocky Road toward International Intangible Cultural Heritage Status

Demgenski, Philipp. 2020. “Culinary Tensions: Chinese Cuisine’s Rocky Road toward International Intangible Cultural Heritage Status.Asian Ethnology 79 (1): 115–35.

Abstract: 

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.

 

“When it Comes to Intangible Cultural Heritage, Everyone is Always Happy” Some Thoughts on the Chinese Life of a UNESCO Convention

 

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/