13. Flamenco for Andalusia, Flamenco for Humanity: Regionalisation and Intangible Cultural Heritage in Spain

Cultural Mapping and Musical Diversity - Britta Sweers

Matthew Machin-Authenrieth [+-]
University of Cambridge
Matthew Machin-Autenrieth is a Senior Research Associate at the Faculty of Music, University of Cambridge and the Principal Investigator for the European Research Council-funded project “Past and Present Musical Encounters across the Strait of Gibraltar” (2018–23). He completed his Masters degree and PhD in Ethnomusicology at Cardiff University. Following his studies, Machin-Autenrieth was appointed as a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the University of Cambridge (2014–17). He has taught ethnomusicology at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels at the University of Cambridge, Cardiff University, and the University of Plymouth. He has numerous publications spanning flamenco, regional identity, heritage studies, and intercultural music making, including the monograph Flamenco, Regionalism and Musical Heritage in Southern Spain (Routledge 2017).


In 2010, UNESCO declared flamenco as Intangible Cultural Heritage. While the inscription recognises flamenco as a Spanish cultural heritage, the tradition is most commonly associated with the autonomous region of Andalusia. As such, flamenco’s UNESCO status is intertwined with regional identity politics in Spain. The Andalusian Government has instrumentalised the inscription for its own project of regional identity building. This chapter examines the impact of the inscription on regional music policy in Andalusia. As is argued here, there is a need to look beyond the nation-state as the main level of analysis in processes of ‘heritagization’. The flamenco case study illustrates how heritage declarations are tied up with intersecting local, regional, national and international politics. The chapter analyses the effects of the inscription at an institutional level, focusing on Andalusia’s own heritage inventories, the education system and the culture industry. However, it also examines localised points of conflict that have emerged from the inscription. Drawing on the zambra, a local context and sub-genre in Granada, it is argued here that flamenco’s regional development under the branding of UNESCO heritage, runs the risk of stifling local flamenco diversity at the expense of a unified Andalusian tradition.

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Machin-Authenrieth, Matthew. 13. Flamenco for Andalusia, Flamenco for Humanity: Regionalisation and Intangible Cultural Heritage in Spain. Cultural Mapping and Musical Diversity. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Mar 2020. ISBN 9781781797594. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=35838. Date accessed: 24 Aug 2019 doi: 10.1558/equinox.35838. Mar 2020

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