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11.00  Mapping Intangible Cultural Heritage

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9:00, Monday 6 Jun 2016 (30 minutes)

The Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, adopted by the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2003, extends the field of cultural heritage to intangible elements. These include cultural practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, and skills nowadays better identified as intangible cultural heritage (ICH). This new cultural paradigm raises the need for cultural policies to take into account its specificities. Moreover ICH, that is considered the heritage “that communities, groups and individuals recognize as part of their cultural heritage” (UNESCO, 2003), points out the need of defining safeguarding policies involving a wide network of actors: institutions, communities, formal and informal groups, and individuals. Safeguarding policies for ICH become transversal to different research fields, public policies, and intervention levels (local, national, international). This means a deep transformation of the relationships existing among all involved actors. 

This paper will present the first results of a project of observation and analysis of ICH actors’ networks on the French Web. This project, funded by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication, aims at identifying the main actors related to ICH in France and at studying the links existing among them. It is based on the use of digital methods, notably the “web mapping” technique that consists in tracing the hyperlinks among the Websites that correspond to a selected corpus of actors. The main hypothesis that supports this technique is the idea that hyperlinks among websites can be considered as proxy of social relations. 

In undertaking this web mapping exploration, we will study three types of phenomena. First, we will observe the importance of institutions that play the role of authorities in the ICH network at national level. Second, we will focus on the organization of actors operating on the periphery of the network, by identifying thematic and geographic communities related to ICH. Finally, we will investigate the behaviour of actors related to established or pending candidatures to the UNESCO lists of ICH.

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