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Volume 82/83 (2015/2016)

Repenser le développement durable : quel rôle pour les savoir-faire et les métiers d’art ?

  • Francesca Cominelli
June 15, 2017


Rethinking sustainable development: Is there a role for know-how and crafts? In an economic environment characterized by extreme competition between companies, the need to open up increasingly distant markets and the difficulties created by the economic and financial crisis, it is necessary to redefine the foundations for the development of contemporary societies. Can intangible cultural heritage (ICH), work of excellence and passion, respect for the environment, and diversity of local practices, permanent innovation, and creativity be the starting points for a new kind of sustainable development? To develop this problem, this paper will focus on a specific element of the ICH: know-how related to traditional practices and, in particular, crafts. In this context, two cases of study are presented: The practice of dry stone construction in the department of Vaucluse, which shows the essential contribution of know-how to spatial planning and more broadly sustainable development; The manufacture of tapestries in Aubusson, emphasizing the need to avoid the weakening of the sectors and the relocation of certain phases of production in order to create local and sustainable economic dynamics. From the presentation of these case studies, this paper will highlight the idea that the safeguarding of ICH should not be conceived of as the simple preservation of know-how or as a vestige of the past. On the contrary, safeguarding must be thought out and implemented in a dynamic way, taking into account the crucial role of know-how.