Person and Property: Conceptualising Intangible Cultural Heritage in Law


  • Anita Vaivade Centre for Scientific Research, Latvian Academy of Culture


cultural property, cultural rights conceptualisation, intangible cultural heritage, international law


The conceptualisation of culture in international law has been rooted in two main conceptual poles: persons – protection of cultural rights of individuals, groups and communities, and property – protection of cultural goods. This finds an explanation within the subject and object dichotomy that is fundamental in law but seems to be insufficient for the interpretation of ‘intangible cultural heritage’. The article analyses whether ‘intangible cultural heritage’ can be interpreted as being linked to the one, the other or both of the named poles of conceptualising culture in international law. The purpose of the article is to seek a conceptual sequence that in the history of international law has lead to an existing network of legal concepts and the ‘intangible cultural heritage’ therein.


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