Italian ‘Intangible Communities’
Procedures, Tactics, and New Key Actors
Heritage communities, patrimonialization processes and participation in ICH are key concepts that belong to a new landscape arisen in the wake of the 2003 UNESCO Convention. With its emphasis on participatory processes, this Convention has produced a great deal of debate and complex repercussions for local and national cultural policies. The essay will examine several Italian areas that have been affected by the UNESCO scenario in an effort to develop an initial understanding of the complex relationships between participation and ‘heritage communities’. These cases include the emergence of new intangible heritage networks and the new leading role played by historical intangible heritage holders such as confraternities, which have traditionally been an important voice in civil life and the sphere of religiously based festivities.