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Inventorier les 'traditions vivantes'. Approche du patrimoine culturel immatériel dans le système fédéral suisse.

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Publication date 2012
Author GRAEZER BIDEAU Florence,
Project Intangible Cultural Heritage: The Midas Touch?
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Volume (Issue) 24
Page(s) 1
Title of proceedings

Open Access


"Inventorizing « living traditions ». Approaches to intangible cultural heritage in the Swiss federal system." This article examines the process by which Switzerland implemented the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, ratified in 2008. It presents a preliminary analysis of research carried out between 2008 and 2011 at the very heart of the administrative and political institutions promoting culture in Switzerland. The author first presents a detailed ethnographic study carried out at all levels of government (federal, cantonal and regional) of the process by which this new paradigm was introduced into Swiss heritage policy. She then compares the current procedure for establishing the Swiss list of intangible cultural heritage with earlier inventories of cultural expression made by other federal institutions (in relation to the economy, foreign affairs and agriculture). Comparative analysis of the various institutions that deal with heritage, particularly through a detailed reading of their use of multimedia material (websites, interactive DVDs), provides a general overview of the heritage field and highlights the specificities and limits of the Swiss federalist system. Finally, the article reflects on the role of anthropologists engaged in the process of inventorying, including that of the author, involved in the ethnographic study of her peers.