UNESCO on the Ground
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UNESCO on the Ground : Local Perspectives on Intangible Cultural Heritage

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For nearly 70 years, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has played a crucial role in developing policies and recommendations for dealing with intangible cultural heritage. What has been the effect of such sweeping global policies on those actually affected by them? How connected is UNESCO with what is happening every day, on the ground, in local communities? Drawing upon six communities ranging across three continents-from India, South Korea, Malawi, Japan, Macedonia and China-and focusing on festival, ritual, and dance, this volume illuminates the complexities and challenges faced by those who find themselves drawn, in different ways, into UNESCO's orbit. Some struggle to incorporate UNESCO recognition into their own local understanding of tradition; others cope with the fallout of a failed intangible cultural heritage nomination. By exploring locally, by looking outward from the inside, the essays show how a normative policy such as UNESCO's intangible cultural heritage policy can take on specific associations and inflections. A number of the key questions and themes emerge across the case studies and three accompanying commentaries: issues of terminology; power struggles between local, national and international stakeholders; the value of international recognition; and what forces shape selection processes. With examples from around the world, and a balance of local experiences with broader perspectives, this volume provides a unique comparative approach to timely questions of tradition and change in a rapidly globalizing world.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 188 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 10.16mm | 240g
  • Indiana University Press
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • 16 b&w illus.
  • 0253019400
  • 9780253019400

Review quote

"All in all, this important new volume sheds welcome light on issues that have been adumbrated in the academic literature regarding UNESCO and the safeguarding of intangible heritage" -International Journal of Intangible Heritageshow more

About Michael Dylan Foster

Michael Dylan Foster is Associate Professor of Folklore and East Asian Studies at Indiana University. He is author of Pandemonium and Parade: Japanese Monsters and the Culture of Yokai (2009), The Book of Yokai: Mysterious Creatures of Japanese Folklore (2015), and numerous articles on Japanese folklore, literature, and media. Lisa Gilman is Associate Professor of Folklore and English at the University of Oregon. She researches dance, gender, and politics in Malawi and has published on the use of women's dancing in Malawi's political sphere. She has also done extensive research with US veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.show more

Table of contents

1 IntroductionMichael Dylan Foster[Section: Local Studies]2 Voices on the Ground: Kutiyattam, UNESCO, and the Heritage of HumanityLeah Lowthorp3 The Economic Imperative of UNESCO Recognition: A South Korean Shamanic RitualKyoim Yun4 Demonic or Cultural Treasure? Local Perspectives on Vimbuza, ICH, and UNESCO in MalawiLisa Gilman5 Imagined UNESCOs: Interpreting ICH on a Japanese IslandMichael Dylan Foster6 Macedonia, UNESCO, and Intangible Cultural Heritage: The Challenging Fate of TeshkotoCarol Silverman7 Shifting Actors and Power Relations: Contentious Local Responses to the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Contemporary ChinaZiying You[Section: Critical Discussion]8 Understanding UNESCO: The Importance of Understanding the Organization in Evaluations of Its ICH ProgramsAnthony Seeger9 Learning to Live with ICH: Diagnosis and TreatmentValdimar Tr. Hafstein10 Cultural Forms, Policy Objects, Local AgendasDorothy Noyesshow more

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