Accepted Paper:

Who owns the dance: reconfiguration of cultural heritage in the post-disaster recovery  


Yue Qiu (The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology)

Paper short abstract:

This paper discusses how people reconfigure cultural heritage into different forms and localize them as a new folklore while competing for the ownership of cultural heritage in the post-disaster recovery context.

Paper long abstract:

This paper intends to discuss the difference between “folklore” and “intangible cultural heritage” through the process of the production of locality of Beichuan, a small town of West China, destroyed in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. The once shared folklores now have clear attribution under the ICH project, and the economic benefit in post-disaster recovery has enhanced the competition of the ownership.

Through an ethnographic research on two groups that practice folk songs and dances in New Beichuan, this paper will explore their attitudes towards the cultural authenticity by analyzing the ways they perform and present the Qiang identity. Members of the first group are dancers from mountainous villages who believe they have the authenticity of the tradition; the second group learns songs and dances from videos and tries to reconfigure the folk dances.

The local knowledge of Qiang have been de-territorialized by labor migration and electronic media, and then re-integrated in New Beichuan through the efforts done by the two groups. This process helps Beichuan people to imagine themselves as Qiang. By learning songs and dances from the two groups, people in the new town have gradually created a local cultural and collective identity.

Panel Heri004
From folklore to intangible heritage