Accepted Paper:

The French ICH inventory and the participation of communities: a utopia achievement?  


Sylvie Grenet (French Ministry of Culture)

Paper short abstract:

The aim of this paper is, through the presentation of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) inventory of the Ministry of Culture, to explore the role of the communities in the definition of the notion of heritage

Paper long abstract:

For a long time, heritage in France, and most particularly the anthroplogical heritage, was designated by specialists, whose main task was to define a subject, grounding themselves on the principle that since the people were an active part in the process, they could not define it. Things began to change with the ICH inventory that was initiated in France, in application of the UNESCO convention on ICH that France ratified in 2003. UNESCO stated that the heritage should be designated by the populations themselves, therefore enhancing a utopic world, where the communities would participate with the State authorities in the definition of heritage. Seeing the conflicts that had appeared, more particularly, on the definition of tangible heritage in France, this utopia appeared as something that could never be achieved. This paper aims at describing the interactions between the communities and State Authorities and how the principle of inventorying, a utopia in itself, finally led to a hitherto non conflicting, and to this date quite unique, situation.

Panel Heri002
Inventorying intangible cultural heritage: a new utopia?