Accepted Paper:

Is "Intangible Cultural Heritage" a European product?  


Jadran Kale (University of Zadar, Croatia)

Paper short abstract:

Interpretation of Intangible Cultural Heritage as a derivation from a distant normative stock is questioned here, defining room for genuine and formative European concept. Exactly because of this genesis, Intangible Cultural Heritage is a perspective category for practice and further refinement.

Paper long abstract:

Vital new category of Intangible Cultural Heritage is usually interpreted as distinctively non-European concept, forged under decisive lead of distant North-East Asian legislation. True, certain regulative fundamentals were certain there even before invasive Euro-American influences from mid-19th century on. Still, without formative power of European concepts adopted in Japan during Meiji modernization new heritage category could not emerge in earnest.

Interest in the European part of ICH-genesis is twofold. Firstly, it could be refreshing to compare it with contemporary anthropologization of the sister sciences, be it nominal or substantial. Secondly, exotic appearance of ICH unpopular regulations in the most advanced Western industrial countries seems fit for re-examination due to its historic modernization character. Together with nation-state imaginaries, market forces are the most important factor for its functioning, just as had happened during the initial formation of ICH.

At the national level, global trends will be compared with legislation and practice of ICH in Croatia since first inscriptions from 2003. At the same time country had steered towards EU-candidacy, being its last member for the time being. National inventorying of ICH, together with numerous other presentational practices, echoed tangible European rhythms denoting what belong to heritage and what does not.

In conclusion, ICH can be affirmed as a perspective heritage category in Europe and worldwide. It is rooted in the same modernization initiatives which gave birth to the ethnology itself. Today, creative communities upon which new heritage category is been practiced matured with new and apt capacities.

Panel Heri001
Heritage as a European product