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Switzerland and the UNESCO Convention on Intangible Cultural Heritage

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Publication date 2010
Author LEIMGRUBER Walter,
Project Intangible Cultural Heritage: The Midas Touch?
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Journal of Folklore Research
Volume (Issue) 47(1-2)
Page(s) 161 - 196
Title of proceedings Journal of Folklore Research


In 2008, Switzerland ratified both the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expression and the Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage. In a direct democracy these decisions closely involve multiple stakeholders. In this article, organizations and associations involved in the ratification process will be introduced and discussed against the background of the history of the intangible heritage convention. Next, I will address questions about particular understandings of culture and cultural concepts held by these different organizations, as well as the cultural and socio-political objectives or agendas they pursue through the implementation of the Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage. The term Volkskultur plays a particularly important role in this context since it is often directly equated with intangible culture; thus, the article discusses the implications of this equation, including the cultural and political approaches that stem from it.