Jessika Eichler

ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen)

Sociologist

Jessika Eichler is a postdoctoral researcher, currently working as expert on the project “Intangible Cultural Heritage under Pressure” funded by ifa. Throughout she pays particular attention to vulnerable groups including minorities and contemporary pressures. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Essex (Sociology Department/Human Rights Centre), a postgrad degree in international law (LL.M.) and undergraduate studies in social sciences/political science with study stays in Maastricht, Lund and Toulouse. Her main research focus evolves around indigenous peoples’ participatory rights in the Andes, Bolivia in particular where she did extensive field research. She is also author of several articles in peer-reviewed journals approaching indigenous rights on the ground from different angles and disciplines.

Intangible cultural heritage (ICH) is increasingly subjected to social, economic and political pressures that endanger its existence. Increasing migration, political change and repressive regimes add to the panoply of considerable challenges for protecting ICH. Of particular concern are vulnerable populations, including indigenous peoples and minorities, who could be considered ‘under-resourced’ in the light of post-colonialist agendas that prevent (collective) cultural self-determination from flourishing. New protective measures are thus required to ensure ICH will be able to be maintained, protected and further developed in the light of intergenerational relations. Regional organisations such as the EU play an important role in establishing and observing adherence to safeguarding standards in the ICH context.