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Vibrant: Virtual Brazilian Anthropology

On-line version ISSN 1809-4341


ARANTES, Antonio. Safeguarding. A key dispositif of UNESCO’s Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Vibrant, Virtual Braz. Anthr. [online]. 2019, vol.16, e16201.  Epub Feb 25, 2019. ISSN 1809-4341.

The expression ‘safeguarding intangible cultural heritage’ was formed within the context of transformations in the instruments and strategies for protecting cultural elements usually designated ‘folklore and traditional (and popular) culture’.1 The adoption of a ‘cultural heritage approach’ to this subject was a somewhat turbulent process that drew, since the mid-twentieth century, a winding path of dialogues with, and divergences from, common sense notions and mainstream preservationist culture. Throughout this process, political and conceptual possibilities for social engineering were envisaged, some were discarded, choices were legitimized and, no less importantly, networks were formed of agents and narrators of the political and legal negotiations that eventually lead to designing UNESCO ICH Convention as officially adopted. This path will be explored in the following comments on the formation of safeguarding as a cultural heritage policy dispositive2 and significant contrasts to other instruments, in relation to which it has acquired specificity, meaning and scope.

Keywords : Unesco; Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage; safeguarding; cultural heritage dispositifs; intellectual ethnography.

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