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Abstracts Session 1

Heritage, Communication and Individuals


Johanna Björkholm, FL disp.

Nordic folkloristics at Åbo Akademi University and The Society of Swedish Literature in Finland



Intangible Cultural Heritage and the Roles of Individuals

My research concerns intangible cultural heritage as concept and process. I use the traditional music within the Swedish-speaking areas of Finland as a case study of intangible cultural heritage as process. I investigate the transformation of the music used in the peasant society and how it was turned into the value-laden genre of folkmusik, i.e. traditional music.

Within this process, the parts played by different individuals are of interest. The practitioners are next to invisible – their only role seems to have been the part of the “noble savage”. There is very little detail to be found about their opinions of “their music”. I have chosen to call the individuals that facilitated the cultural heritage process “assumers”. They did not necessarily regard the traditional music as part of “their culture” and few of them were practitioners. They were rather educated individuals such as students, collectors, journalists and scholars that were inspired by the bourgeois cultural ideals.

The ideals of the assumers reveal interesting insights into the usage of the concept of culture. According to their view, the high-water mark of cultural evolution had been reached by the high culture of the educated classes of Europe. It was possible for other “subcultures” to reach this level, perhaps with a little assistance. When it comes to peasant culture, however, this branch was considered to be ancient, static and fading. Any changes here were interpreted as disintegration.

It appears as though the goal of the assumers was to create a monument of the music of the past through the creation of archive collections. However, the fact that functioning intangible culture is dependent of practitioners that uphold traditional culture and thereby enable transmission was not recognized.


Modesto García Jiménez

Catholic University of Murcia, Área de Antropología, UCAM



Ben Stott

Universidad de Granada

United Kingdom & Spain


Popular music and vernacular architecture in the collective-individual relationship

Heritage is undoubtedly one of the most important social phenomena of contemporary times. Evidently nothing new, heritage has become extraordinarily relevant as a strategy for the consolidation of States (M. Fumaroli –on Cultural State-, T. Højrup, etc.), perhaps more so as a global order and reference (Noriko Aikawa, UNESCO). Currently, the enormous politico-economic importance of the processes associated with Heritage means aspects of critical theory are relegated to a secondary level. However, it becomes more necessary to build a critical focus to deal with issues of great importance: the local/global relationship and its contradictions, the declaration and classification of cultural property and the discrimination which this can assume, identity as a means of exclusion of others, and the sensitive situation of the individual faced with the collective.

This paper proposes to address two issues which are directly related to the subject matter of the Conference, Heritage and Individuals. It explores two minor phenomena found in South-East Spain. The first concerns music in the oral tradition (folklore) and the creative relation and dialogue between the collective and the individual. The second examines how new residents of this area, originating from Northern and Central Europe, are individually restoring old houses in places of great patrimonial interest, and therefore assuming a task of the State.


Pirita Ihamäki, MA, M. Sc. (Econ.)

University of Turku, Program Degree Cultural Production and Landscape Studies, Digital Culture



Free Culture Movement by case WikiLeaks

The rapidly growing role of ‘computer mediated communication’ has attracted considerable attention from social scientist and range of researcher discussions of its possible impact on social movement. (Castells 1996, Wellman et. al. 1996, Cerulo 1997). In this paper I discuss the impact of computer mediated communication of free culture movement activity by case WikiLeaks. The free culture movement understanding as social movement which promotes the freedom does distribute and modify creative works in the form of free content by using the Internet and other medias. Idea is the free culture movement it’s an ethos of free exchange of ideas. WikiLeaks has provided a new model of journalism; they work cooperatively with other publishing and media organizations around the world. As WikiLeaks mention that they are a non-profit media organization. The goal is bring important news and information to the public. WikiLeaks mention that their most important activities are to publish original source material alongside their news that readers and historians alike can see evidence of the true. (WikiLeaks web-page.) We can regard free culture movements as networks of relationships which connect informally, without formal organizational bindings a multiplicity of individuals and organizations, who share a distinctive collective identity and interact around conflict issues. (Diani 1999.) All in all, the most distinctive contribution of computer mediated communication to free culture movements still seems to be instrumental rather than symbolic. Computer mediated communication may create brand new social ties where there were none.

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