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 9: ICH and authority: lawless ‘DIY’ approaches to contemporary ICH

John Schofield


For most people, direct experience of the world tends to be confined to the closely familiar. Everything else is learnt second-hand from others, or increasingly through news, visual and social media as representations of an unfamiliar world where different rules may apply. Heritage often falls into this category. By its traditional definition, heritage has tended to be ‘other’ – those special historic places we occasionally visit or encounter, often in leisure time, to escape everyday routines, to learn or to be inspired. But gradually, and recently, heritage has extended its definition to embrace the ordinary places and activities that we routinely experience through our everyday lives. People’s relationship with heritage has therefore changed, yet the systems for managing it remain largely static. This chapter outlines some of the challenges this situation presents, not least in the relationship between people, places and the practices that connect them, and with a focus on contemporary intangible cultural heritage.

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