From folklore to intangible heritage

Alessandro Testa (Charles University, Prague)
Start time:
22 June, 2015 at 14:00
Session slots:

Short abstract:

This panel intends to gather and discuss contributions, both theoretically and ethnographically informed, about the epistemological and methodological shifts characterizing the related notions of "folklore" and "intangible heritage" in the fields of Anthropology, Ethnology, and Cultural History.

Long abstract:

In the last few decades some major theoretical and methodological shifts have characterized the interconnected disciplines of Anthropology, Folkloristics, Ethnology of Europe, and Cultural History. Many categories and notions long used (and sporadically abused) have been thoroughly problematized, at times profoundly questioned, and even abandoned. The purpose of this panel is to discuss how these shifts have affected both the common and the academic usages of two of these notions: those of "Folklore" and "Intangible heritage". "Folklore" is a term doubtless characterized by apparently separated but actually interwoven etic and emic connotations. Indeed it often shows a certain degree of semantic entanglement (or tension) between the two, and a capacity for circulating in interstitial terminological grounds and non-hegemonic discourses. Conversely, at first "intangible heritage" could be thought of as a technical category only. However, recent ethnographic evidence demonstrates that, in its simpler version - "heritage" without an adjective, still used to refer also to real intangible heritages - it is actually present also in non-professional and non-academic fields, being discussed and negotiated, for a rather diverse set of aims, in many social arenas, and in Europe as well as elsewhere. This panel intends to address these issues newly and foster further theorization about them. This will be done by gathering contributions that will try to merge ethnographic and/or historical data, theoretical insights, and methodological applications, yet without neglecting the conclusions drawn in the already abundant literature that so far has dealt with similar topics.