« Participation » and « communities » are key concepts of the 2003 Unesco Convention for the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage. This project investigates the current establishment of this heritage domain at the European level and compares how these concepts are interpreted in the implementation of the 2003 Convention in southern, central, and eastern European countries (Italy, France and Hungary). The project considers the impact of this new heritage paradigm both on national institutions (through an ethnography of institutions) and on local heritage stakeholders (through multisite ethnography). This project tests therefore a pioneering multisite and intersectorial approach which aims at promoting coordination of policy and action between all stakeholders (local, national and supranational). The goal of this comparative research is to provide EU policy makers with an analytical perspective capable of improving European interaction in the implementation of domestic and supranational heritage policies. The results of ICHEUROPE are intended to be transferred into applied social and economic intervention and have structuring effects on the actual implementation of EU heritage policies, allowing local stakeholders to establish collaborative safeguarding projects consistent with international regulations. This project addresses an uninvestigated domain and has therefore strong potential to stimulate further inter-sectorial research projects.
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