De politiek van immaterieel erfgoed: een besprekingsartikel | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 124, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0040-7518
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1163


Owing to the Intangible Heritage Convention of UNESCO, the concept of intangible heritage has come to the forefront of the international cultural debate on heritage and identity. It coincides with a more general awareness of the so-called softer sides of heritage, with more attention to identity processes, meaning, and experience, sometimes labeled ‘the emotional turn’. UNESCO has adopted a bottom-up approach. Local communities play a central role in the Convention, which is a way of democratizing heritage. Recent publications show that intangible heritage also has significant political dimensions. Some even speak of intangible heritage as a political minefield. Intangible heritage is instrumentalised for political benefit or as a way of gaining public acclaim. The books reviewed present some striking examples. Until now historians have not been involved in these discussions. But because of their historical expertise and their critical antennae for the role of politics in history, they can help to deconstruct the politics of intangible heritage.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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