Nélia Dias, Sónia Vespeira de Almeida
This thematic line is focused on the uses and practices of culture, the commodification of culture, the role of museums and festivals in the process of objectification of culture, the construction of tourist sites and tourism as a destination, and the circulation and rescaling of cultural forms. Tangible as well as Intangible Heritage have been at the core of this research line culminating with two main initiatives:
▪ CRIA was accredited as UNESCO’s consultant regarding the Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage
▪ CRIA is, along with two other research centres, involved in a PhD Program devoted to ‘The Politics and Images of Culture and Museology’ with a particular focus on Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH), a Program financed by the FCT (2013-2017) with 16 grants.
The research group aims to draw a synthesis of the work accomplished and to move further in new directions by focusing on emergent areas such as:
▪ The issue of the economic uses of culture at the local level. In the economic sphere, culture conceived as a resource, has been in the forefront of the commodification processes, namely in relation to tourism and local development.
▪ The role played by private agents in the heritage process. Research on heritage has concentrated on the official agents, mainly at the state level, leaving aside the role played by private agents. By decentring the focus, we aim to examine how, thanks to heritage, new communities are created and how they interact with other agents at the national and local levels.
▪ An “ethnology of heritage”, that is to explore the ways in which people experience in their daily lives what living in historical sites classified as ‘heritage’ means. Focus will also be put on the ‘patrimonial function’, how heritage emerges from a multiplicity of emotions, a limited set of values and their interplay in particular contexts.
▪ Heritage practices and communities in transit. The issue of portable heritage. By focusing on the circulation of objects as well as of cultural practices, the research will be articulated with the thematic line ‘Circulation and Place-Making’.
Although heritage and tourism have been at the centre of some research areas, such as heritage studies and sociology of tourism, the specificity of the anthropological approach resides: a) on detailed ethnographic contexts; b) on communities’ experiences and resident’s perceptions of the impact of tourism; c) on the mediations between the national and the local levels; d) on the processes of innovation and cultural creativity.
The research will be carried out in several geographical contexts: Portugal, Europe, Brazil, United States, and Portuguese-speaking countries in Africa.
▪ At the dissemination activities level: to organize short-term courses, training courses and Summer Schools on Intangible Cultural Heritage.
▪ At the scientific level: a) to publish a volume on ethnographic museums and collections in Portugal, their history, their impact on local economies and on the transformation of the communities involved. Over the last decade, several Master dissertations as well as PhD thesis supervised by CRIA’s members have been devoted to particular ethnographic museums/collections in Portugal; b) to publish, in articulation with the Doctoral Program, monographs on some aspects of the ICH.
▪ At the level of partnerships: to enhance and promote consultancy in areas related with the uses of culture, heritage and tourism, particularly with the INATEL.
▪ A workshop on ICH in 2017 with Doctoral Students and the researchers of the institutions involved in the Doctoral Program.