Semba as intangible heritage: policies and images of culture in Angola

Principal researcher: André Soares

Research group: Practices and Politics of Culture


Intangible heritage | Dance | Music | Performance | Nation

Funding Institution

Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT)



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A topic that has been approached in classical anthropology, dance and music have been the object of renewed interest in the discipline in recent decades. Recently certain dance genres, such as tango or salsa have become very popular and have known circuits of dissemination on a global scale. The dissemination of popularity of many musical genres and dance, particularly in the last two decades, has been associated with its elevation to intangible heritage by UNESCO. Like other cultural and expressive practices, dances, at least certain genres, have been transformed into cultural goods within the wider process of tourism, commercialization and objectification. This project takes the field of music and dance, in particular the genre semba as a revealing and a pretext to reflect on the cultural and identity politics of the Angolan state within the framework of its affirmation in the global geopolitical context. A group of dances and musical genres have been the target of promotion and preservation since they are cultural manifestations of high patrimonial importance. Among the dances and musical genres raised to immaterial patrimony in recent years are the Carnival of Barranquilha in Colombia (2003), roda de samba of Recôncavo Baiano, the Argentine tango (2009), Flamenco (2010), Fado (2011), Frevo de Pernambuco (2012) and Cante Alentejano (2014).


Full members

Filipe Reis

Practices and Politics of Culture

Full members

Paulo Raposo

Practices and Politics of Culture