Accepted paper:

Intangible hertitage governance, cultural diversity, ethnonationalism

Author:

Mary Taylor (CUNY)

Paper short abstract:

This paper examines the development of the concept of intangible (or cultural) heritage and its governance over the last 20 years in relation to the ascendance of diversity as a central value of Western societies. Rather than regarding cultural fundamentalism and ethonational movements as the “reverse side” of intercultural dialogue, I suggest the paradoxical predicament that notions of diversity and ethnonational sentiment are coproduced by a number of processes in post socialist late capitalism.

Paper long abstract:

This paper examines the development of the concept of intangible (or cultural) heritage and its governance over the last 20 years in relation to the ascendance of diversity as a central value of Western societies. Culminating with the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Heritage, which entered into effect in April 2006, intangible heritage governance emphasizes the awareness of a common human heritage and the preservation of cultural diversity through the focus on the reproduction of the practices of particular bounded groups. Arguing that intangible heritage efforts may contribute to the deployment of language that stresses mutual exclusivity and incommensurability, this paper examines difficulties which projects in post socialist Europe focused on intangible heritage have faced due to tensions between the universal and particular and bounded and processual notions of culture. I then draw upon my own research on Hungarian folk revival in Hungary and Romania, where efforts at the reproduction of intangible heritage can be said to intersect with ethnonational movements. Rather than regarding cultural fundamentalism and ethonational movements as the "reverse side" of intercultural dialogue, I suggest the paradoxical predicament that notions of diversity and ethnonational sentiment are coproduced by a number of processes in post socialist late capitalism, most notably connected to "civil society" focused projects and changing relations of property.

panel W055
Critical perspectives on the persistence of 'culture talk' in the making of Europe