The construction of intangible cultural heritage: a Foucauldian Critique

Claudia Melis, Donna Chambers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Within tourism studies, there has been limited attention to the concept of World Intangible Cultural Heritage, its discursive normalisation and its effects at the level of the nation or public sphere. Through a discourse analysis of a public institutional document on intangible cultural heritage in Scotland, we demonstrate how Foucault's power/knowledge dyad unfolds at one of its points of application. Our key findings include that discursive strategies of conviction (such as inventorying) are deployed to frame intangible cultural heritage within an existing discursive field of relationship that articulates with Scotland's contested political position within the United Kingdom; and that notions concerning the importance of safeguarding intangible cultural heritage have been constructed through discourses of its fragility and immateriality.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103206
Number of pages11
JournalAnnals of Tourism Research
Early online date15 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2021
Externally publishedYes


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