Edited by Ruth Towse and Trilce Navarrete Hernández
Chapter 33: Intangible cultural heritage
The chapter deals with intangible cultural heritage (ICH), based on the definition reported in the 2003 United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Convention for the Safeguarding of the ICH. This definition covers a large range of material and immaterial expressions of local cultures, considered as a living cultural treasure for local communities. The reasons that – after almost 30 years from the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage – led UNESCO to focus on the preservation of ICT are explained. In particular, we consider the economic phenomena that threaten the survival of the immaterial culture widespread in the world; usually a tacit knowledge, transmitted with difficulty through codified procedures and protected by intellectual property rights. The economic reasons that justify the preservation of ICH are investigated, underlining the role that ICH can play in fostering creativity and innovation. The real enforcement capacity of UNESCO Conventions, and other local and national policies, are discussed.
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