Author Faculty (Discipline)


Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Page Numbers


Embargo Period


Reportable Items (HERDC/ERA)



The rapid changes in cultural demographics, technology, education and the impact of globalization and multiculturalism demand a re-assessment of the processes that tend to isolate contemporary life from its heritage, named in the paper as cultural distancing. In view of the named dilemma, this paper explores the importance of the intangible heritage and its contribution to the formation of contextualized social and personal identity. The heart of the argument suggests that the nurture of the intangible heritage connects with the hub of identity formation. In support of this position, this paper adopts and modifies Stobbelaar and Pedroli’s existential and spatial identity quadrant by expanding the meanings to horizontal and vertical dimensions of life’s experience. The proposed model demonstrates that in the context of spatial dimension, the affective component of social identity, coined with the elements of reflexivity ingrained in the cultural memory, contributes to the reconstruction of relevant social and personal identity. Further, in this context, intangible heritage provides visionary inspiration and motivational drive. With this impetus, it drives the formation of the contemporary identity to discover a higher and future oriented purpose. Finally, the paper shows that in such a framework, identity thrives with a passion and contextualized vision, as long as, individuals take the time and effort to nurture, revive and recreate the memory of the living heritage.

Peer Review

Before publication


Used by permission: Greenlines Institute for Sustainable Development and the author.