Intangible Cultural Heritage as Defined in the 2003 UNESCO Convention



According to the 2003 UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, the essential components of such heritage are a manifestation (objective component), a community of people (subjective or social component) and a cultural space (spatial component). The heritage can be manifested in the domains of oral traditions and expressions including language, performing arts, social practices, rituals and festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe, and traditional craftsmanship. The social component of heritage, that is, the communities, groups and individuals who share it, is linked to a number of questions, such as the identification of the community of practitioners or the transmission and recreation of heritage, as well as the commercialisation, modernisation and revitalisation of it. The cultural space must be intended more for social practices than for its geographical character. The Convention clearly states that its scope of application does not cover the manifestations of heritage that are incompatible with existing international human rights instruments or with the requirements of mutual respect among communities, groups and individuals and of sustainable development.


Intangible cultural heritage Objective component Social component Spatial component 


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Milano-BicoccaMilanItaly

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