Research Handbook on Contemporary Intangible Cultural Heritage
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Research Handbook on Contemporary Intangible Cultural Heritage

Law and Heritage

Edited by Charlotte Waelde, Catherine Cummings, Mathilde Pavis and Helena Enright

Bringing together key insights from expert legal and heritage academics and practitioners, this book explores the existence and safeguarding of contemporary forms of intangible cultural heritage (ICH). Providing a detailed analysis of the international legal frameworks relevant to ICH, the contributing authors then go on to challenge the pervasive view that heritage is about ‘old’ tangible objects by highlighting the existence, role and importance of contemporary forms of ICH to modern society.
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Chapter 7: ICH as a source of identity: international law and deontology

Anita Vaivade

Abstract

Identity concerns have become central for cultural heritage protection and safeguarding at international level. This, however, has been a rather recent change that took place first in policies on cultural diversity, and then became introduced in cultural heritage law. Introduction of the concept of ‘intangible cultural heritage’ and arriving at an international agreement on its safeguarding changed the understanding of cultural heritage in general, and also strengthened the recognition and protection of the diversity of cultural identities. The chapter explores these conceptual shifts from a historical perspective, raising informative experiences of drafting international legal and deontological instruments, including in relation to gender, national minorities, indigenous groups, ethnicities, migrants and diaspora. It also reveals evolvement of cultural rights, including regional normative instruments, and its interpretation, in particular for defending the interrelated rights to cultural identity and cultural heritage, which currently encompass the freedom to choose identity and to participate in heritage interpretation.

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