The Concept of Cultural Heritage

cultural heritage

Essentially, cultural heritage is the inherited cultural products of past generations. In some cases, these heritages can be tangible or intangible heritage assets, but they are not always. In other cases, they are the product of selection by society.


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Traditionally, the concept of cultural heritage has included archaeological sites, historical monuments, artifacts, and other forms of human expression. It has also included indigenous knowledge, cultural property, and natural legacy. But now, the concept has expanded to encompass all aspects of human creativity.

Cultural heritage is a storehouse of human experience. It is an expression of spiritual evolution. It gives places a distinctive appearance. It also serves as a mirror for the world. It is the expression of human impulses and drives.

The concept of cultural heritage has been used in all cultures throughout millennia. The term dates back to Enlightenment. In the Roman era, a work of art was considered the property of the whole community.

In the twentieth century, the term “conceptual” was redefined in the context of modern art. It came into prominence during the time of Dada and Marcel Duchamp.


Traditionally, the term “cultural heritage” was used to refer to tangible objects such as buildings, monuments and artefacts. While these are still important, it is also important to recognize the value of intangible cultural heritage. It has the potential to promote sustainable development and social cohesion. In addition, it also provides a sense of identity for communities, and can help to create a sense of community pride and continuity.

Intangible cultural heritage is a collection of traditions, skills, knowledge, and practices passed down from one generation to the next. Typically, this knowledge is passed through oral tradition. It can take many forms, including music, language, rituals, and social practices.

Some examples of intangible cultural heritage include festivals, music, traditional art, performing arts, rituals, and skills. There is also knowledge of nature, which is a collection of practices that communities have developed over time. Knowledge of nature may be expressed through language, spirituality, and worldviews.

Impact of non-state actors

During the last two decades, cultural heritage has been increasingly targeted for intentional destruction by non-state armed groups. These attacks have been characterized as “cultural cleansing” by UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova.

Global cultural heritage governance can help combat these attacks. This is particularly true if the protection of cultural heritage is improved through international law. Global cultural heritage governance may also support international efforts to fight terrorism against cultural heritage.

The author introduces three types of non-state actors (NSAs) involved in cultural heritage protection. He analyzes their roles and responsibilities, and compares these to the operations and functions of state actors. He also analyzes some practical cases.

A non-state actor is defined as an individual or entity that has the potential to shape, monitor, or assess the compliance of a state. Some of the key characteristics of NSAs include: stimulate ambition, stimulate participation, evaluate compliance, and define problems.

Protection in context of genocide prevention

Efforts to protect cultural heritage are not an unintentional distraction from broader efforts to protect people. Indeed, they are one of the first steps along the normative itinerary towards advancing normative frameworks and addressing issues of legitimate sovereignty.

A focus on the protection of immovable cultural heritage could elicit increased international attention and a more robust policy response. It could also help to widen support for the evolution of customary law.

The destruction of cultural heritage has been a continuing plague. In the past, it has been targeted in pogroms, Pol Pot’s killing fields and Mao’s Cultural Revolution. These attacks have cost the lives of vulnerable populations and reduced their lifespans.

Research is key to exposing criminal architectures, exposing communities and exposing individuals in crosshairs of violence. It also helps to identify leverage points and to map the motivations of potential perpetrators.

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