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Artefacts of WritingIdeas of the State and Communities of Letters from Matthew Arnold to Xu Bing$
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Peter D. McDonald

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198725152

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198725152.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 17 September 2021



The ‘C’ in UNESCO: A very short introduction

(p.153) Prologue
Artefacts of Writing

Peter D. McDonald

Oxford University Press

The section introduces Part II, which spans the period 1946 to 2014, by tracing the history of the debates about culture within UNESCO from 1947 to 2009. It considers the central part print literacy played in the early decades, and the gradual emergence of what came to be called ‘intangible heritage’; the political divisions of the Cold War that had a bearing not just on questions of the state and its role as a guardian of culture but on the idea of cultural expression as a commodity; the slow shift away from an exclusively intellectualist definition of culture to a more broadly anthropological one; and the realpolitik surrounding the debates about cultural diversity since the 1990s. The section concludes by showing how at the turn of the new millennium UNESCO caught up with the radical ways in which Tagore and Joyce thought about linguistic and cultural diversity.

Keywords:   UNESCO, cultural diversity, human rights, print literacy, Cold War, decolonization, intangible heritage, multiculturalism, universalism, relativism

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