BAYKAL, Nurulhude
A Quantitative approach to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage lists: criticism and suggestions
The starting point of this study is the lack of quantitative and thus objective approaches to UNESCO’s Lists of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH), namely the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding and the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Elements inscribed to the Register of Good Safeguarding Practices are not included in
this study; however, a similar approach can be applied to its analysis. While the amount of data has increased each year since the first inscriptions on the lists in 2008, no research has examined how to organize the data, and hence this study aims to fill this gap. The paper points out the problems regarding the currently available statistics and data on UNESCO’s website for ICH. The main problems about the statistics relate to the disorganized classification of the countries and the inefficient use of primary concepts in describing the elements inscribed on the lists. The paper proposes one table as an example to organize the statistics related to the countries and another to depict the unhelpful conceptualizing of the elements. The paper also demonstrates how the data if organized properly and in a user friendly way can be employed to give an extensive perspective of countries’ cultural heritage, their contribution to world civilization, international and domestic politics, etc. Moreover, this study employs data management techniques to evaluate how compatible the elements on the lists are with the Text of the Convention for the Safeguarding of the ICH signed in 2003 based on the statistics. This paper may serve as a source for further studies focusing on elements on the lists and analyzing the data related to them by employing technological tools like data mining processes and similar applications.
intangible cultural heritage, digital, website, inventory, Data management, statistics, conceptualization, classification, analysis
Bibliographic reference
BAYKAL, Nurulhude (2018) "A quantitative Approach to UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists: criticism and suggestions". In Millî Folklor, Vol. 30, 102-118. [online] Available at: [Accessed 09/12/2019]