Accepted Paper:

Intangible Heritage and International Development Networks: Actors, Agency and Representation around Intangible Heritage for Development.  


Stefania Cardinale (Independent Researcher)

Paper short abstract:

Through a case study presentation, the paper discusses the ways in which the practice of intangible cultural heritage safeguarding interlinks with development aims and creates larger and complex collaborative networks impacting the nature, actors and community of the intangible heritage.

Paper long abstract:

The practice of safeguarding intangible heritage calls for researchers to look beyond scalar dichotomies of global-local, materiality and intangibility and to reach for a more fluid and fibrous interpretation of intangible cultural heritage networks. It is certainly not only a matter of defining the boundaries of the heritage community, as a departing point. It is much more important to focus on what kind of relations are established to highlight the nature and agency of these connections over the cultural element. To this end, the paper presents an ethnography of intangible heritage practice that interlinks with 'project of development' practice, focusing on a project implemented in West Bengal (2009-2011) and linked to the heritage of Purulia chhau dance. It discusses the extent to which key aspects of the network (power relations, actors' interests, project's ideas, etc.) enact the heritage of chhau into an alternative livelihood, positioning the heritage in the practice of culture for development. Through understanding how various actors make sense of their role under the project investigated we can shed light on the processes of negotiation that actors use in attempts to control the ordering of the intangible heritage as a livelihood for development. The paper suggests the heritage of chhau is also an effect of the project and that with regard to safeguarding practice and participation, there is limited scope for self-determination given to artists, when they are inscribed into an action as 'beneficiaries' and subjected to the 'project of management' structure, typical of international development action.

Panel P063
Heritage, beyond materiality: intangible cultural heritage, collaborative methodologies and imaginations of the future