Sample Business Policy Review Paper on Intangible cultural heritage (ICH)

Intangible cultural heritage (ICH) can be described as the cultural expression and resources that have been passed from generation to generation, undergone an evolution in response to environmental changes, and are primarily associated with the contribution they make towards satisfying a sense of identity and continuity (Petronela, 2016). Besides, different communities globally boast of their unique way of doing things that make them particularly people. Fundamentally, the intangible cultural heritage is often manifested and displayed significantly through artifact preservations and other various expressions. Remarkably, all these cultural heritage possessions are presented as valuable to the people not only for their possible economic value but also for the elicitation of certain emotions of belonging and pride in one’s culture (Cauchi-Santoro, 2016; Schlesinger, 2016). For instance, in addition to monuments and collections of objects, traditions such as oral traditions, social practices, rituals, festive events, and performing arts also form a vital part of the community heritages.

In both macro policies and micro policies, participation is a crucial interplay that ensures successful implementation while fostering accountability, transparency and quality. Further, participation can described as a classification of four forms including instrumental, nominal, representative and transformative.

Contextual Relation

Therefore, the survival of the intangible culture is crucial and requires coordinated and intense efforts and strategy to preserve it successfully. For this reason, UNESCO, a specialized agency mandated with culture preservation efforts, is involved in elaborate assistance of member states to safeguard their cultural heritage adequately (Deacon et al., 2019). Thus, the adoption by the Convention was aimed at safeguarding the intangible cultural heritage formed a significant basis for developing new policies in that field. The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has been in cultural preservation for over seventy years. Universally, UNESCO views participation as cultural tool that should be implemented fully to meet of integration and interrelationships in the community. The participation program is a vital complementary functioning unit to the UNESCO which strengthens its regular activities by analyzing, evaluating and facilitating the implementation of national projects. Consequently, the policy formulation led to research and a detailed description of individual cultures from various parts of the world, focusing primarily on the member states. UNESCO has extensive members worldwide brought together under the ICH for an effortful attempt to preserve the world culture and offer the necessary guidelines in the face of exceedingly rising globalization. Hence, the policy was directed towards the world population in various countries to serve as a wakeup call to take the helm of their culture and exercise control. Further, the transmission of skills and knowledge from one generation to another is the exclusively most crucial thing in perspective about the essentiality of ICH. However, inconsistency and reduced transmission occur when the correct policymaking process is not followed. Among the most critical steps during the process is participation (Sousa, 2018).

Ostensibly, participation is paramount, and it matters. Under the UN development goal, the participation policy is guided by the principle of cultural rights. The provisions of the regulations and rules stipulated under this body direct that any policy development should be achieved not only by the makers’ autonomous decisions but also by the inclusivity of the opinions put across by concerned individuals and stakeholders. Additionally, participation ensures social inclusion of all diverse populations available, demonstrates social responsibility, a tool for socializing, and aid in develops of specific skills. Participation can be effectively categorized into independent groups, including social participation, which involves the undertaking of collective activities, public participation where democracy is involved, and individual participation, which translates to personal choices one makes as lifestyle decisions. Simply, UNESCO describes cultural participation as taking part, watching, and interacting (Ripp and Rodwell, 2018). The policy document focuses and delineates in a specific format the making of an intangible cultural policy, the implementation, and applications to the people. Often, international bodies such as UNESCO have to be reliant and collaborative with other local governments in the endeavor of successful integration of the policy within the national cultural heritage of those countries.

Furthermore, undertaking a project is expensive and sometimes unsafe and may need government support. Government departments involved with cultural identification and preservation will the most active during the implementation process. However, the government doesn’t always mean goodwill.

Relationship with other theories

The theory of participation has a deeply entrenched interrelationship with the other prevailing theories especially those associated with the social institution and setting. Fundamentally, the social capital theory, for instance, is concerned with the welfare of the individuals who have emphasis on the commonality of strengthening the community. Community cohesion based on togetherness and the unity under social capital theory is essential and can be applicable in association to participation. Besides, social capital structures are varied in different circumstances including developed and developing countries. In developed countries for instance, communities are generally egocentric whereas developing communities are generally socio-centric. Participation requires interconnectivity in a society hence the relationship between them is paramount. Additionally, the theory of margin which is a participative behavior, suggests that majority of the people from the rural areas from the Third World Countries have heavy load and little power. As a result, there are limited in their will to fully participate in the development activities since they are pre-occupied. Therefore, it acts as a restraint to an effective participation.

Main Points, Arguments and Issues

Different grave issues arise in the ICH policy development process and participation of the concerned stakeholders. For instance, extensive and inclusive empirical research on the bureaucratization of the right community participation safeguards and manages intangible cultural heritage (ARANTES, 2017). Shreds of evidence with ethnographic attachment retrieved from different countries globally in countries like Brazil, Greece, and China have deep and bright illustrations indicating how organized bureaucratic activities aim to disorient and alienate the participation from its ideal purpose towards another predetermined target (Pawson, 2002). Nonetheless, the struggle is far from over, and the process of laws and regulations meddling by the corrupt administrative officials has just begun. After successful alteration of actual participation, they must produce the evidence of participation to their seniors and committee for reviews.

Consequently, they embark on an expedition to conceive new methods of fabricating evidence. This, they claim, is a way of showing their appreciation, support, and commitment to ‘good’ governance and the expression of disappointment and devastation to the poor and unexpected policy results. Here, the focus lies squarely in demonstrating the grave consequences that can be brought about by these bureaucratic operations.

Besides missing the intended ideality, these alterations present varied interpretations of the principle of participation to the audiences intended to the recipients of these cultural heritage policies (Dalton, 2017). Therefore, the description above offers a clear picture of how the agency officials can successfully satisfy their agenda despite structural constraints. Also, it represents the prevailing fragility and futility of the administrative systems and processes. In Brazil, people participate through cultural democracy, which focuses on the public defining their own culture with strategies to review cultural offer based everyday participatory decision making. However, there still are persistent inequalities in participants taking part in creative industries. As a result, any imbalance in the correlation between engagements, social, economic status, and education can lead to a devastating policy crisis and, ultimately, policy failure.

Moreover, during the policy development process, there is supposed to be a shift in the policy form participation inactivity to participation in planning aimed at recognizing dispersed expertise and facilitating a more comprehensive range of voices heard. Another adverse issue that can affect the process of participation in the framework articulation. Currently, the current international policy framework includes UNESCO participatory programmer, which encourages decision making based on the framework directives (Craith, Kockel, and Lloyd, 2018). Also, the policy framework encourages the support of minority cultural forms and the protection of religious and cultural self-expression as provided under the right appendage. However, ICH development in different countries has been faced by unprecedented barriers to reconcile and re-align already existent heritage framework with the principles and requirements of the ICH Convention. In devastating research findings, the reconciliation process mostly results in alterations and adjustments of global standards for reconceptualization during the implementation process. The unprecedented looming challenges and tensions that are palpable amidst the association of ICT and sustainable development. As the environmental and social changes take root in globalization, significant changes are expected to hit the ICH as it is evolving and to undergo transformation (Sohrabi Nasirabadi, 2017). Nonetheless, it is these changes that may ultimately bring undesirable and far-reaching adverse effects if not monitored.

Therefore, the stakeholders are faced with difficult and crucial decisions to make in determining the suitable and desirable transformation, which will be helpful and fruitful to the core purpose of the ICH. Besides, sustainability can be relative, making it difficult for an exact depiction of such terms as sustainable change. On the other hand, it is advantageous that by investigating and keeping up with how the ideas of sustainability are manifested on ICH, one can effectively anticipate the unusual cases that are undesirable and successfully mitigate or eliminate them. Ultimately, in the process of policy transformation and adaptation, there is an inevitable overlap that frequently results in flooded challenges and contradictions emanating from the cultural heritage field. Additionally, these process changes have a significant economic impact (Kee, 2019). In this regard, it calls for careful selection of the preferable and most appropriate choice provided; the protection of an autonomous artist may be better than the public’s choice if the greater good is considered.

Sometimes, the frameworks work only to a specific limit, but fortunately, they also provide for exceptions like a priority to avoid preventable market failure. If the world maybe were given a chance to decide what they wanted, it would not ever be created owing to their contradicting and divergent views on different issues and ideas. However, the above statement does not contradict the fact that participation is imperative and vital in the substantiation of any policy formulation and implementation. Thus, when dealing with an organization rather than an individual, it is advisable to treat it as a more significant responsibility to engage and involve others in decision making.

Since its inception and implementation, the ICH Convention has been ratified in more than 178 countries (Schreiber, 2017). In all these countries, there exist different formats of reception towards transformations of the heritage policy. However, all these countries enjoy different local political affiliations and organizations with clearly distinct communities, groups, and individuals who assert the precise definitions and understandings of dynamic and subjective cultural heritage (Ellison, 2017). During the transformation process, challenges often become much pronounced when the ICH manifestations are in the context of crisis. Consequently, crises explosion trigger a series of unexpected outcomes that can have ripple effects far and wide and thus may prompt for a decision-making situation, particularly if the economy is facing a crisis too. As an adaptive measure, there is a tendency to improve their engagement with the ICH to obtain resilience and overcome the crisis period. Controversially, the market has been described as an enemy to the intangible cultural heritage because of the numerous threats it poses and the precarious position it holds the cultural heritage (Lixinski, 2018).

Conversely, it has also been described as a chance for growth culture and diversity growth because if the openings and opportunities it offers. The independence and efficiency of the agency have also been questioned regarding the participation operations’ facilitation. In the words of Stephen and Dryzek, they assert firmly that participation should not shift power; instead, it should bring about change. The representation, coupled with the agency’s intentions, should always focus on the interests of the represented. For instance, agencies built-in bias to maintain the status quo will always possess plural or mixed interests, and thus it will be difficult to make rational decisions (Bernstein, 2017). Also, agencies that are run individually by the chosen elite, the possibility of drowning other voices is exponentially high, which translates to the making of favorable decisions only to the elite and influential in the organization. Alternatively, an agency should be made up of individuals who can participate in making decisions. Comprehensive decisions have an enormous capacity to make things happen in the agency and bring about the much-needed change.

Implementation of the Policies

The integration and implementation of the intangible policy have taken place in different geographical areas in the world. In each of them, participation and inclusion was the main focus during their formulation and actualization. For instance, Bulgaria has several of its elements added to the intangible cultural heritage, including archaic polyphony, Dances, and Rituals in 2008 and messages from the past in 2009. In its adaptation of the Convention, the inventory was critically explained and assessed by a committee under the Bulgarian academy of science and the ministry of culture in coordination with UNESCO officials as representatives. Significantly, these individuals committed a substantial amount of time ensuring a thorough exercise was conducted, enabling them to formulate not only a contemporary form of intangible cultural heritage but also maintaining their earlier forms of traditional culture. Ain this regard, they conducted nationwide sociological questionnaires to seek the opinion of their people. Later, conferences and seminars held at the national level led the consultations, and later the information was sent to the education and cultural institutions called Chitalishta.

Finally, it was endorsed by the ministry of culture with a letter signed by Bulgarian minister of culture confirming that those Chitalishtas fulfill a vital role in the organization as well as the country at large. Additionally, Romania enjoys four entries on the intangible cultural heritage list, including Doina of 2009 and Men’s group colindat, Christmas-time ritual of 2013. In Romania, there is a National Commission tasked with safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage under the Ministry of Culture and Religious affairs. The national commission comprises specialists who represent Romania’s cultural centers, including the museum, academia of sciences, and universities. A repertory of cultural elements consisting of the national intangible heritage proposed by the commission resulted in the synthesis of vast collections and types of traditional Romanian culture, which included the minorities. Further, to create an interdisciplinary and holistic understanding of the Romanian intangible culture, the national, regional, and local governments’ participation is essential.

However, the most indispensable involvement that cannot be compromised is the individual citizens. Thus, Questionnaires were distributed and shared with ethnographic departments, departments of philosophy and history, museums, and cultural centers all under the ministry of culture. However, it was appalling to have minimal or no participation at all by the immediate locals who possess the most power and mandate to maintain their culture. Other countries like Poland also have had their share in preserving their culture under the intangible cultural heritage convention.


Policy formulation and implementation should be transparent and systematic. I would therefore totally support participation by the concerned stakeholders during policy implementation process. Primarily, participation will improve the quality of decisions made as well as building the cohesion of the participants during the process.  However, due to the involvement of many departments leading to overcrowding along the process, some limitations emanate from it. There is a palpable and profound delay in the process, which has devastating effects like lack of adequate participation of the required stakeholders, including the people to which the policies were made. Therefore, having precise implementation levels that are not choked with bureaucracy and corruption would allow a smooth run on the formulation and implementation processes, hence saving on time and according to the needed opportunity for participation to the deserving locals. The notable strangles and tensions between the academic research institutions and the operations of the state administration are worrying. A quick solution of either working together smoothly or allocating all the operations to one of the departments would save the seemingly not too promising situation. However, the scientific research department is better suited to handle the identification and documentation of the cultures since they have a better understanding of decoding and understanding the natural heritage of a people, hence necessitating participation.


The process of identifying, defining, and safeguarding the intangible cultural heritage calls for vigilance and commitment from all concerned and involved individuals and stakeholders. Incorporating our national and country-based cultural heritage into international platforms calls for even more alertness and vigor. There is a need to eliminate bureaucracy and bad politics whose adverse ramifications can be dangerous and widespread. Like UNESCO, nationalities and international bodies should collaborate to achieve participation and safeguard the Intangible cultural heritage of communities.



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Bernstein, E.S., 2017. Making transparency transparent: The evolution of observation in management theory. Academy of Management Annals11(1), pp.217-266.

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Dalton, R.J., 2017. The participation gap: Social status and political inequality. Oxford University Press.

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