Accepted Paper:

Intangible cultural heritage: Latvian legislation in the European Perspectives  


Anita Vaivade (Latvian Academy of Culture)

Paper short abstract:

The paper aims at exploring historical, constitutional and regional European, as well as other considerations and choices present within the Latvian Law on Intangible Cultural Heritage that is being drafted and expected for adoption by the Saeima in 2015.

Paper long abstract:

"Since ancient times, the identity of Latvia in the European cultural space has been shaped by Latvian and Liv traditions, Latvian folk wisdom, the Latvian language, universal human and Christian values." This sentence is adopted in June 2014 as part of the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia, within its Preamble. The inclusion of the Preamble within the 1922 Constitution was debated at length by politicians and legal scholars, as well as by Latvian society in general.

Reference to Latvians and Livs - as national ethnoses (Latv. pamattautības) of Latvia - and their cultural traditions is also present within the Latvian draft Law on Intangible Cultural Heritage, once stating criteria for inscription into the national inventory of intangible cultural heritage. Alongside, the draft law refers to ethnic minorities (Latv. mazākumtautības) and their intangible cultural heritage, as far as it is historically characteristic particularly to the Latvian territory.

The system of Latvian national laws, dealing directly or implicitly with intangible cultural heritage, will be explored within the light of European and global perspectives. While the Council of Europe has explicitly recognized the value of cultural heritage a decade ago (Faro Convention 2005), and the European Commission has expressed last year a substantial shift "towards an integrated approach to cultural heritage in Europe", the major global impulse for developing policies on intangible cultural heritage, remains UNESCO and the 2003 Convention for the safeguarding of the intangible cultural heritage, whose general principles will be examined from national and regional European perspectives.

Panel Heri003
A threat to unification? Europe's nationalizing states and the UNESCO convention on intangible heritage