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Part III Additional Issues Related to the 2003 Convention, Formation of the Notion of ‘Safeguarding’ Adopted by the 2003 Convention »

Antonio Arantes
From: The 2003 UNESCO Intangible Heritage Convention: A Commentary
Edited By: Janet Blake, Lucas Lixinski
This chapter considers how the expression, ‘safeguarding intangible cultural heritage’, was formed within the context of transformations in the instruments and strategies for protecting cultural elements that have usually been designated as ‘folklore and traditional (and popular) culture’. The trajectory of this policy since the mid-twentieth century mapped a winding path of dialogues with and divergences from everyday notions and preservationist culture. The chapter explores this path as a means to comprehending the factors that differentiate safeguarding from other dispositifs employed to protect cultural elements. It also examines this path in relation to which it acquires specificity, meaning, and scope. In this process, political and conceptual possibilities for social engineering were envisaged and discarded, choices were legitimized and, no less importantly, networks were created, formed by actors and narrators of the trajectory that would eventually lead to designing the ICH Convention.

Part II Commentary, Art.2(3) Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage »

Antonio Arantes
From: The 2003 UNESCO Intangible Heritage Convention: A Commentary
Edited By: Janet Blake, Lucas Lixinski
This chapter reflects on ‘safeguarding’ as an action, such as described in Article 2(3) of the 2003 Convention. This action provides conceptual and practical parameters of central importance to the implementation of that treaty since it addresses what Article 1 sets out as the first of its purposes, namely ‘to safeguard the intangible heritage’. As such, this chapter contends that the safeguarding of intangible heritage cannot be properly comprehended without considering its constitution as a State policy, global in scale, regulated by a multilateral public agency, UNESCO. This means that its description requires paying attention to its specific modus operandi, the scope of its application in the geopolitical sphere formed by the States Parties, and the effects of its regulatory nature. Under these conditions, safeguarding participates in the cultural dynamic of the diverse social realities contained in this ample universe. In examining the action of safeguarding, therefore, this chapter keeps in mind the transformations that have shaped the trajectory of this policy, the power relations present in their implementation, and the infinite socio-cultural diversity to which this practice refers, and which is affected by it in distinct ways around the world. Finally, the chapter comments on some of the themes that traverse various articles of the treaty to delimit the parameters that constitute the core of this new modality of heritage action.