Accepted Paper:

Participatory frictions across ICH global governance: the Brazilian channels of community participation  


Chiara Bortolotto (EHESS)
Morena Salama (EHESS)

Paper short abstract:

By following the social life of the ICH Convention we land on the Brazilian safeguarding regime and critically explore its interpretation of the UNESCO call for community participation, shedding light on the limitations and controversies emerged with the implementation of the ICH Convention.

Paper long abstract:

"Participation" of "communities", keywords of the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, are far from being globally understood in the same way. These global buzzwords compromise with national and local institutional approaches to heritage management, with existing national legislations, political priorities as well as with available technical skills and academic corporations. The first part of this presentation introduces the project "UNESCO frictions: heritage-making across global governance" which ethnographically follows the social life of the UNESCO Convention across the different scales of its implementation in China, Brazil and Greece and explores the tensions arising in the translation of the imperative of participation imposed by an international norm into national heritage institutions and local projects.

In the second part the attention is drawn to the Brazilian case study. We will focus on the main channels created by the Brazilian state in order to foster the participation of communities in the implementation of safeguarding processes that take place after an intangible element is officially declared "National Cultural Heritage". These participative tools are: the constitution of deliberative committees, the drafting of safeguarding plans and the "shared management" of public cultural centres. Drawing on the safeguarding process of the samba de roda we will illustrate the controversies, limitations and achievements triggered by these participative channels while exploring some of the issues that have been challenging the application of the participative call of the ICH Convention on the ground.

Panel Heri03
Imperatives of participation in the heritage regime: statecraft, crisis, and creative alternatives (Cultural Heritage and Property Working Group)