Il patrimonio culturale immateriale: la sfida della salvaguardia
Cultural heritage is not limited to material manifestations; indeed it also includes intangible, living and fragile expressions, such as oral traditions, performing arts, festive events, or the knowledge and skills necessary to produce traditional crafts. This essay focuses on the issue of safeguarding intangible cultural heritage, especially in the framework of the French and Italian national cultural policies. In particular, it begins by following the evolution of the concept of heritage towards intangible cultural heritage and examining the principal historical events, programs and debates that in 2003 led to the adoption of a new international legal instrument: the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. Then, considering the main changes of today's global economy, this study underlines the importance of intangible heritage from an economic, cultural and social perspective. Finally, the article seeks to examine different ways to implement the 2003 Convention at the national level. Traditional models of protection, valorization, and safeguarding need to be rethought on the basis of the specific characteristics of intangible heritage and of the needs of individuals, groups and communities that create, maintain and pass cultural heritage onto future generations. Two case studies, the French model and the Italian one, will be illustrated to identify the main measures necessary to implement an effective policy for the safeguarding of this fragile heritage.
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