ESPS 8 specifies the protection and management of intangible forms of cultural heritage. This includes cultural knowledge and innovations and the practices of communities that embody traditional lifestyles. The ESPS addresses both tangible and intangible forms of cultural heritage and outlines the requirements for each. It aims to protect cultural heritage in a way that respects and sustains its value. In addition to the tangible forms of heritage, the ESPS specifies the requirements for both intangible and traditional forms.
The protection of cultural property involves balancing private and public rights. The ancient Romans recognized the common value of works of art even though they were privately owned. Consequently, they could not remove statues that decorated their buildings. The convention was signed to protect cultural property during armed conflicts and UNESCO has begun to designate artworks as masterpieces of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. This principle has continued to evolve. UNESCO’s World Heritage Convention is a prime example of cultural internationalism.
It is important to note that cultural heritage encompasses not just physical artifacts, but also the immaterial elements of traditions, rituals, and social practices. Hence, the concept of intangible heritage can also include practices and knowledge related to nature, the universe, and traditional crafts. This way, cultural heritage preserves and protects the culture and the values of an entire society. However, it should not be mistaken for “memorabilia.”
The distinction between official and unofficial heritage is a useful tool for challenging dominant historical narratives. Moreover, some heritage scholars might be skeptical about process-oriented approaches to cultural heritage at the expense of traditional material concerns. These scholars may believe that material values of official heritage are meaningful and that other cultural perspectives can challenge those values. But it is important to note that heritage scholars have developed a range of methodologies to challenge historical narratives. The key is to develop a synthesis of diverse heritage perspectives and methods.
Preservation of cultural heritage involves the participation of diverse experts and agencies. From conservators to law enforcement to program managers, they bring their special skills and expertise to the preservation and restoration of cultural property. They may contribute to the safeguarding of collections and intangible cultural heritage, while folklorists and ethnographers are involved in creating and implementing programs. Besides experts, non-governmental organizations, benefactors, donors, and local community leaders can also participate in the protection of cultural heritage.
UNESCO Santiago aims to promote awareness, understanding and respect of cultural heritage as a vital means of culture. It also contributes to the continuous revaluation of cultures and identities. Furthermore, it is a powerful vehicle for the transmission of knowledge from one generation to the next. Moreover, heritage can inspire creativity, innovation, and future cultural products, thus promoting social capital and a sense of belonging. Thus, the concept of cultural heritage is more than a buzzword.
Although appropriation of cultural heritage is a significant issue, there are some ethical considerations when deciding whether or not to protect it. Cultural practices and heritage are often outlawed in colonial societies. Many colonial powers forced indigenous groups to assimilate into their new culture through residential schools, and they often benefitted from these products. However, when evaluating the ethical and legal implications of appropriation, we should be aware of the history of eradication of cultural practices, and ensure that they are protected.
While material cultural heritage can be clearly defined as property, intangible cultural heritage is more difficult to trace. While it is not as easy as tracing the lineage of practices, it is possible to make a case for their ownership. The question of ownership is especially difficult in these cases, and claims of intangible cultural heritage can be made based on superficial similarities between cultural traditions. So, it is essential to carefully evaluate all aspects of intangible cultural heritage.
Because the concept of cultural heritage has multiple meanings, it is best served by a multidisciplinary approach. This approach can be applied to diverse cultural environments and can be incorporated into a wider range of policy and management practices. The idea of cultural heritage is a societal consensus on the past, as it is rooted in human culture and its relation to the environment. In addition to its intrinsic value, cultural heritage can be used to promote intercultural understanding.
The concept of cultural property requires careful consideration. Certain objects qualify as cultural property, but this does not necessarily mean that they should be returned to the designated group. Furthermore, cultural property is a concept that is not incompatible with alienation, as long as it is not misused. This concept has been used by researchers to create a system that protects both cultural property and personal property. The process is complex, but is vital for safeguarding cultural property.