2016 | 9, Dziedzictwo kulturowe | 45–62
Article title

Korzyści i zagrożenia wynikające z inwentaryzacji niematerialnego dziedzictwa kulturowego

Title variants
Benefits and risks of inventorying intangible cultural hreritage
Languages of publication
The article explores the various issues inherent in national exercises of inventorying intangible cultural heritage (ICH). The 2003 UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage obliges its State-Parties to draw up one or more inventories of the intangible heritage present in their territories. The heritage lists are made to serve as tools for devising proper safeguarding strategies, best suited to the individual needs of particular ICH elements. The inventories should also serve to promote ICH and encourage communities to take an active role in safeguarding them. The identification and inventorying of ICH should only be carried out with the consent and participation of the relevant heritage communities. Although the idea of the inventorying process is sound and in theory beneficial, it can cause unintended risks to the ICH it is meant to help safeguard. A lack of information regarding the purpose of the inventories may result in certain cultural expressions being viewed as “officially recognized” by state authorities or as more important than the heritage of groups whose heritage is not included in a register. The description of the elements in the inventories may come to be viewed as “iconic” and “proper,” leading to their fossilization in the form in which they were presented in the national register. Also, the ICH may become subject to misuse by outsiders who might wish to profit from the cultural phenomena made public through an inventory. Lastly, the growth of the tourist industry may threaten some phenomena or lead to their adjustment in order to suit the tastes and needs of the visitors. In the face of the many threats which seem to be connected to the national inventorying of ICH, it seems crucial to build capacity in regards to the purpose of the intangible heritage lists and the proper implementation of the 2003 UNESCO Convention at the national level.
  • Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa
Document Type
Publication order reference
YADDA identifier
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