Switzerland. Where else?
Switzerland is where we have conducted our research and the context we know best. More importantly, it is a beautiful country with a great many well preserved items of ICH or, in the Swiss language, “living traditions” (167 to date). Its centuries-old practice of direct democracy, and a complex federal system in which cultural diversity and consensus-seeking are key values, allow for broad-based popular participation in political life, particularly in the area of culture. Indeed, through an odd meta-cultural twist, these political institutions have themselves been elevated to the status of heritage. Switzerland thus provides the perfect setting for reflecting democratically on the role and effects of the ICH Convention on culture and politics, within the country and beyond.