On the relationship between performance and intangible cultural heritage

Simon McKerrell, Kerstin Pfeiffer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Citations (Scopus)
59 Downloads (Pure)


This chapter examines the concept of performance as it is understood in Theatre and Performance Studies, focusing on the aspects which are pertinent to intangible cultural heritages (ICH) – embodiment, liminality and efficacy. It discusses Heritage Studies and outline how ideas of and about performance shape our understanding of heritage and its sociocultural dimensions. The chapter investigates aspects of the tension between the performance of and the research on ICH through the lens of ethnomusicology, a discipline that is shaped by the tensions between the wealth of tacit cultural knowledge acquired by learning to perform works of ICH and the need to communicate such knowledge in research outputs. ‘Performance’ is one of those terms that defy easy definition. It has become a particularly elastic term in English, where it has a wider range of meanings and applications than in French or German, for instance.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHeritage and Festivals in Europe
Subtitle of host publicationPerforming Identities
EditorsUllrich Kockel, Cristina Clopot, Baiba Tjarve, Mairead Nic Craith
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9780429202964
ISBN (Print)9780367186760
Publication statusPublished - 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences
  • General Arts and Humanities


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