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 10: ICH and authority: the Welsh language and statutory change

Megan Rae Blakely


This chapter explores the symbiotic relationship between authority and intangible cultural heritage (ICH) through the lens of Welsh ICH and legal authority. The impact of ICH on law in economically developed countries is difficult to assign numeric value and, due in part to this amorphous nature, is an under-acknowledged influence on the statutory legal framework. Welsh language and cultural practices like the Eisteddfod have been subject to legal regulation over several hundred years within the UK, and the reclamation of Welsh ICH by practicing communities in contemporary times has resulted in statutory changes, such as the equal treatment of the Welsh language in public bodies in 1993. This chapter highlights the importance of ICH safeguarding, regardless of economic development; the complications of laws regulating language and cultural practice under a partially autonomous legal structure; and the under-recognised, reciprocal influences of law and ICH.

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