P06
Intangible heritage and the challenges for the theory and practice of anthropology

Convenors:
Simone Frangella (Institute of Social Sciences - University of Lisbon)
Elsa Peralta (Center for Comparative Studies - Faculty of Arts, University of Lisbon)
Format:
Panels
Location:
Sackler A
Start time:
9 June, 2012 at 14:30
Session slots:
2

Short abstract:

This panel welcomes papers with an empirical basis that involves the relationship between the field of intangible heritage and the discipline and profession of anthropology. We are interested in questions of conflict, cultural legitimacy and the role of anthropology in the negotiations involved.

Long abstract:

Since the creation of the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2003, the concept of heritage underwent a considerable redefinition. The appraisal of immateriality of heritage brings to the fore new power alignments as well as new forms of legitimating which cultural expressions are regarded as value and worth preserving. This new approach encompasses conflicts and ambivalences between what community groups experience as their social life and the political processes that involve the formalisation of this social life as heritage. Our interest is in debating specific contexts in which these problems arise. What are the negotiations involved in the making of the heritage? Who are the social actors that perform the process, from the selection of cultural references to its formalisation? Which are the political agenda and economic interests of these actors, and how they merge or conflict? We also pose broader questions: Can anthropology work as a mediator in these dynamics? How to distinguish in this context the concepts of intangible heritage and culture? What are the challenges for anthropologists that are being called again to "certificate" cultural expressions of these communities? We welcome papers that present research in different empirical contexts which address these questions and offer new insights regarding strategies and tools for the anthropologists to work in this field.