Since 2003, several countries have launched inventories of their intangible cultural heritage. This panel wants to consider these inventories and their actual increase in a critical and a comparative manner.
In all the countries which have signed the 2003 UNESCO convention for the safeguarding of the intangible cultural heritage, inventories have become necessary to know better the cultural elements which could potentially claim for the intangible cultural heritage label. Since 2003, several countries have tried to inventory intangible cultural heritage in different ways, in most of the cases without following the same methods. In some cases, the inventories of intangible cultural heritage use the traditional methods of ethnology and folklore. In other cases the inventories try to involve the political actors, the cultural institutions or the communities concerned by the inventoried cultural elements. This panel wants to consider inventories and their actual increase in a critical and a comparative manner. To this aim, three different questions will be put forwards. First, what does it mean to use inventories in the field of intangible cultural heritage? Isn't the inventory of intangible cultural heritage a utopia? Second, how do the different countries inventory their intangible cultural heritages and how can they be compared on such a ground? Third, is the inventory of intangible cultural heritage different from other inventories, for instance in historical monuments, in archaeology or in museums? Case studies or more theoretical reflections are welcome to answer these different questions.