Panel 5 Paper 5.3 Rural Intangible Cultural Heritage and Ethnic Tourism: Experiences of Yunnan, China

Su, Junjie (2019) Panel 5 Paper 5.3 Rural Intangible Cultural Heritage and Ethnic Tourism: Experiences of Yunnan, China. In: ICOMOS 2019 Advisory Committee Scientific Symposium - Rural Heritage - Landscapes and Beyond, 17 October 2019, Marrakesh, Morocco. [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Abstract (in English)

China is an active player in the international arena of intangible cultural heritage (ICH). While China is transforming from an agricultural country to an industrial country, rural heritage, either tangible or intangible, is facing tremendous challenges and opportunities. Among Chinese provinces, Yunnan in Southwest of China can be regarded as the best case to investigate the issues of protection, use and transmission of rural heritage as Yunnan is a unique province of China because of its ethnic cultural diversity and geographic diversity. Based on literary studies and fieldworks, this paper illustrates history, cases, theories and practices in the protection and use of ICH in ethnic tourism development in the past 20 years. Yunnan has long been regarded as a “peripheral” part of China and ethnic cultures were treated as “primitive” that needs transformation. However, after China’s reform in 1978, the ethnic culture in rural areas in Yunnan has been changed into traditional and folk culture, cultural heritage (ICH, World Heritage, protected traditional villages and towns, etc) and ethnic tourism attractions. Meanwhile, several rural areas in Yunnan have evolved from a backward area into a popular tourism destination recognised home and abroad. With specific cases in terms of performing arts (dance, music, etc), handicrafts (metal, ceramics, textile, wood carving, etc), festivals and ICH related to cultural spaces (traditional villages, towns, landscapes, etc) in Yunnan, the paper will elaborate how rural ICH is transmitted, and/or re-created in a matrix of tourism commodification with participation of the local governments, entrepreneurs, local elites, community members and tourists. As well as advancing theoretical discussions in regard to authenticity, commodification and continuity, this paper also reflects on the practical strategies in commodifying rural ICH in ethnic tourism.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)
Su, Junjie
Languages: English
Keywords: Cultural Landscapes; Rural Heritage; Rural landscapes; Intangible heritage; Community participation; Local communities; customs and traditions; economic and social aspects; cultural tourism; arts; crafts; development projects; case studies; China
Subjects: A. THEORETICAL AND GENERAL ASPECTS > 02. Concept and definition
A. THEORETICAL AND GENERAL ASPECTS > 12. Theory of conservation
Q. LANDSCAPES > 06. Agricultural Landscapes
E.CONSERVATION AND RESTORATION > 09. Social and economic aspects of conservation
H.HERITAGE TYPOLOGIES > 17. Intangible cultural heritage
J.HERITAGE ECONOMICS > 03. Economic values of heritage
J.HERITAGE ECONOMICS > 05. Heritage and sustainable development
O.INTANGIBLE HERITAGE > 03. Performing arts
O.INTANGIBLE HERITAGE > 04. Social practices, rituals and festive events
O.INTANGIBLE HERITAGE > 05. Traditional craftsmanship
Name of monument, town, site, museum: Yunnan region, China
National Committee: ICOMOS International
ICOMOS Special Collection: Scientific Symposium (ICOMOS General Assemblies)
ICOMOS Special Collection Volume: 2019 Advisory Committee Scientific Symposium
Depositing User: ICOMOS DocCentre
Date Deposited: 15 Nov 2019 15:44
Last Modified: 08 Aug 2023 15:22
References: UNESCO: Convention for the Safeguarding of the ICH, 2003.

Chinese Government: Law of China on Intangible Cultural Heritage, 2011

Smith, L: Uses of Heritage. New York: Routledge, 2006

Smith, L and Akagawa, N (eds): Intangible Heritage, London: Routledge, 2009.

Akagawa, N and Smith, L (eds): Safeguarding Intangible Heritage: Practices and Politics, London: Routledge, 2018.

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